Thursday, May 23, 2013
This is a repost of a very important reminder for our pets.
#FurbabyFridays Revisits Heat Stroke and Warm Weather Death Traps
I originally posted the following blog on May 9, 2012. In light of the death of a patient because it was left in a car at a BART station for nearly 7 HOURS while the owner went off for the day to Goddess knows what, I thought it was important to bring up the topic again. The day this Pit bull died? It was in the low 70’s and clear blue skies. We weren’t dealing with a heat wave, just a sunny day and a dog left in a car that quickly became an oven and an instrument of death.
Don’t like the thought of a dog seizuring out of control for hours? Don’t like the image in your head? Me either and neither did the Good Samaritans who called the police when they saw the dog seizuring in that car. Please, please, please! Don’t leave your pets or your children in cars alone unattended while you “run a quick errand.” Leaving them home or with supervision and the air conditioner on could save their lives.
Read on to learn more about heat stroke.
People don’t often realize how dangerous warm weather can be for their pets. Not only are there the obvious dangers of being hit by cars, allergic reactions to insect bites, snake bites, and the ever “evil” pieces of weed seed called foxtails commonly found here in California, there is something else that ranks up pretty high in the danger list as the temperatures rise above 70 degrees.
Heatstroke is unfortunately a very common occurrence this time of year, and not just for dogs left in cars. Although rare in cats, it has been reported in cases were the feline was trapped in a clothes dryer, left in carriers in hot vehicles or indoors with little or no ventilation. Exotic pets can also be victims. Rabbits, chinchillas, rats and guinea pigs are frequently presented to emergency veterinarians near death because their hutches and cages are placed in areas with little or no shade and are provided with little to no water while their body temperatures soar.
For the purpose of this article, I will focus more on dogs, but honestly all the information discussed here can be applied to the other furry friends. There are many ways animals can become dangerously overheated. Dogs have sweat glands only on the pads of their feet and cool themselves primarily by panting. When the air is hot and humid, they cannot rid themselves of the excess heat efficiently. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is more likely to occur during the first hot days of spring or summer when it’s 70-75 degrees than on a 100 degree day in August.
Why? Because by the end of summer dogs are used to the heat and typically their owners know enough by then to take it easy with themselves and their pets. It’s early on when dogs and people are simply not acclimated to the heat and can easily overexert themselves in the new warm temperatures.
Quite a few people travel with their pets when the days are warm, even running errands with their pets “riding shotgun.” Unfortunately, unless you plan on leaving the engine running and the air conditioning on full blast, leaving your dog in the car while you run into that store for a “few seconds” is simply NOT an option. Whether or not you leave the windows down or up, park in the shade or not, it doesn’t matter. Here’s a chart demonstrating how hot the inside of the car can get at various outdoor temperatures.
3. Being a certain breed whose physical conformation makes them unable to cool themselves effectively. Bulldogs, Boxers, Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Boston Terriers, etc all have short noses, small airways and excess tissue at the back of their throats that can make it difficult to get rid of excess heat.
Now that you’ve scared the heck out of us, what do we do to prevent our pets from getting heatstroke?
What do we do if our pet does suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke?
Still not convinced it could happen to you and your beloved pet? Click on the link below…
The above link is to a graphic that I found today discussing what actually happens to that dog left in a car on a nice day…even with the windows down! I see way too many cases of heat stroke during the nice days here in California. The biggest excuse I hear from people? “I was only gone a few seconds.” Yeah, right! You try staying in a hot car with a fur coat for just a few seconds and you tell me how you feel. What you THINK is only a few seconds is actually a few seconds too long when it comes to the health and well being of your dog.
Not only is this dangerous for dogs, it’s also a problem for cats, rabbits, other small rodents and birds. Why take the chance people! Leave you pets at home when you run errands, or have someone stay in the car with them with the air conditioner running.
Did you know that in most cities across the country it is ILLEGAL to leave a pet unattended in a car? Just because you haven’t been caught doing it, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to keep doing it. So please, please, please be a responsible pet owner and keep them safe in ALL weather!