Summer temperatures continue to rise each year, which can put people and pets in danger of heat-related illnesses and emergencies. Don’t let temperature extremes keep you and your pets indoors—with a few precautions, you can safely enjoy everything beautiful New Jersey has to offer. Here are some top tips and tricks for keeping pets safe.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that commonly occurs in dogs. This is because their body temperature can easily spike if they are exposed to high heat and humidity without adequate cooling measures, and serious damage to body cells and organs can result. The heatstroke mortality rate is high even with treatment—up to half of affected dogs may pass away in hours or days from organ dysfunction, blood clotting, bleeding issues, or brain damage.
Before their condition progresses to heatstroke, dogs may experience heat stress or heat exhaustion, characterized by rapid panting, weakness or lethargy, and possible muscle cramps from dehydration. Taking them to air-conditioned indoors at this stage could save their life. When dogs progress to heatstroke (i.e., a body temperature above 104 degrees), organ systems start to shut down. Signs include:
Dogs most at risk for heatstroke include those who are overweight, have shortened, smushed noses (i.e., brachycephaly), are older, or have heart or lung problems. However, any pet exposed too long to heat can be affected. Exercising outdoors and confinement in a hot vehicle are two classic heatstroke scenarios.
Keep your pet safe by exercising caution and choosing your outdoor activities wisely. Here are some tips to follow:
When you simply can’t escape the heat wave or your dog is going stir-crazy from boredom, try a few summer-friendly activities that will stimulate their senses without exposing them to dangerous conditions.
Try one of the following engaging ideas:
With close monitoring, appropriate activity choices, and using the cooler hours of the day to your advantage, you can continue to enjoy the summer without worrying about your pet overheating.
At AERA, ourfacility is well-equipped to handle critical emergencies such as heatstroke, but prevention is always the best course of action. Should you ever need us, or if your pet is exposed to high temperatures, shows heatstroke signs, or suffers another heat-related illness or injury, you can contact emergency services at AERA.