By Stacy Kess
Despite a mostly mild summer, forecasters are still predicting temperatures above 80 before the fall cool-down — and that’s just hot enough for it to be dangerous for pets.
“Puppies, kittens, older cats and dogs should never be left out too long when the temperature rises sharply,” said Gayla Evans-Rine, president and founder of Ohio Rottweiler Rescue. “When temperatures reaches above 80 to 90 degrees, depending on the humidity, you may want to bring (your pets) indoors.”
The Sunbury-based rescue works with dogs — mainly Rottweilers — rescued from cruelty situations. Evans-Rine promotes best-possible pet care, including how to care for a dog in the hot weather.
“If you work and have to keep your pet out all day, have a neighbor, friend or relative check on your pet, making sure shade and water is available at all times,” she said. “When weather is extremely hot and humid, bring your dog inside especially in the afternoon if possible and put them out when the sun goes down and is cooler.”
She said if animals cannot handle being inside that much, an animal may need to be caged or crated. If pet owners can afford it, she suggested boarding a pet in a reputable facility with air conditioning when the temperatures are in the 90s and above.
During warm weather, pets may enjoy a ride in the car, but a pet should never be left in a vehicle — even with a window cracked or the air conditioning running. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise rapidly when it’s warm out, far above the temperature outside.
“It is like an oven to them,” Evans-Rine said. “If you stay in the car with them at all times while someone runs in the store, fine. Otherwise leave them at home. Better to be safe than sorry. The temperature can rise in minutes and your pet can die from heat exhaustion.”
According to The Humane Society of the United States, the temperature in a car can rise to 102 degree on an 85-degree day — even with the windows slightly cracked — in just 10 minutes. Add another 10 degrees after 30 minutes.
The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that by June 2 it had already had a reports of dogs dying from complications from heat after being left in a hot vehicle.
The temperature outside can be just as dangerous. On hot days, veterinarians recommend walking a dog in the early morning when the temperature is lower.
“Remember if you are hot, they are hotter,” Evans-Rine said. “If you’re uncomfortable, they are more uncomfortable.”
The ASPCA recommends fresh, clean water be made available to pets anytime they’re outdoors in the hot weather to avoid dehydration or heat distress. When a pet is panting heavily, sounds raspy or is gasping for air, the pet must be brought into a shady place or indoors and cooled down with wet towels around the neck and shoulder area, Evans-Rine said. She said if your pet shows signs of lethargy or stupor, it’s time to seek emergency help. Thick-coated animals are more susceptible to complications from heat.
Evans-Rine said it’s important for pet-parents to remember that the ground can be hot, just like the air, and recommended getting a protective treatment before walking a pet on concrete or other hard outdoor surfaces on a hot day.
The cooler temperatures that have graced Central Ohio this summer can actually cause more problems when the temperatures climb.
Evans-Rine said the excess rain has created a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“Heart worm, flea and tick preventatives are crucial for dogs and cats, especially those kept outside,” she said. “Mosquitoes transmit heart worm during the spring and summer months and can be deadly to your pet. Ticks can also transmit diseases not only to animals but humans as well.”
Vets recommend pets be treated with K-9 Advantix, which kills fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Regular visits to vets and groomers are equally important.
For more hot weather pet-care tips, visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/hot-weather-tips or www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_safe_heat_wave.html.
Reporter Stacy Kess can be found on Twitter @StacyMKess.