Protecting your pet in hot weather

Studies show that even a relatively cool 72 degree day, a car's internal temperature can rocket up to 116 degrees in just an hour. Cracking the windows, hardly slows the rise at all. That's why it's important not to leave pets alone in the car, even if you're just running into the store.

The Maryland SPCA has hot weather tips to keep your pet cool and safe during the hot summer months.

  • Limit outside activity with your pet to slow-paced activities such as a short walk preferably in the morning or evening.

  • Prevent dehydration by providing your pet with plenty of fresh, clean water during and after outside activities.

  • Pets don't wear shoes like we do that protect our feet from hot surfaces. Avoid burning your pet's paws by walking in the grass instead of asphalt and concrete surfaces.

  • Under no circumstances should a dog be left alone in a car even if a window is down. Even with the window(s) down or parked in the shade, the car can quickly become a hot oven. Call 911 if you see a pet left alone in a hot car.

  • Although they have fur, dogs can get sunburned especially on their noses, tips of their ears, stomachs and areas where their coats are thin.  Apply a dog-safe sunscreen on your dog before going outside.

  • Keep indoor temperatures cool for your pet.  Consider a pet cooling bed or cooling collar for your pet.

  • Remember that ets with flat faces (Pugs, Persian cats) and pets who are overweight, elderly or have heart or lung disease are more susceptible to heat.

   Signs of Trouble and What to Do

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing,  dry nose, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling,

  • seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting

  • Bring your pet into an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to his/her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over him/her. Let him/her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

  • When in doubt about the seriousness of overheating, take your pet directly to a veterinarian.

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