Don’t miss our first three pet safety tips for Memorial Day weekend in Part I!
Humans are able to stay cool by sitting in the shade, grabbing a drink of cold water, or swimming in the pool. Our pets don’t have that same control. They rely on us to help them stay cool and hydrated.
Heatstroke is a real problem for many pets left outdoors for long periods of time with no access to shade or water. It is also an issue for dogs that join their owners on long runs, walks, or hikes in hot or humid weather.
When a pet is out in the sun for too long, deadly elevations in body temperature can occur. The pet will need immediate veterinary medical intervention. Common symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Red-colored gums
- Decreased urine production
- Tissue bruising
- Black tarry stool
- Bloody vomit
- Change in mentation
- Wobbly gait
- Inability to walk
Pets at the highest risk of heatstroke include:
- Very old pets
- Very young pets
- Pets with “smooshed” faces
- Pets with thick coats
- Pets with darker coats
- Pets with heart or lung disease
- Obese pets
To keep your pet safe, take him or her for a walk in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. If the temp is hotter than 80 degrees, keep your pet indoors as much as possible! When outside, make sure your pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times. DO NOT leave pets outside unsupervised for prolonged periods of time. If the heat index is too high for your comfort, then it’s also too high for your pet’s comfort! Bring your pet to your family veterinarian or animal emergency hospital immediately if he/she is suffering from a heatstroke.
BBQs and Picnics
Memorial Day and BBQs or picnics go hand in hand. Families and friends come together to celebrate the long weekend and the start of summer. Since our four-legged friends are family, they tend to join in on the fun. Our pets often work the crowd and sneak in a few sweet and savory treats.
It might be tempting to give in to those puppy dog eyes, but remember; pets’ tummies aren’t used to consuming a variety of foods. Sharing even a small amount of human food can actually cause pets to become ill. There are also many foods that are safe for humans to eat but not pets. Foods like grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and chocolate are especially toxic to pets. Alcohol is also very dangerous to pets. If your pet drinks alcohol, it may result in severe gastrointestinal upset, kidney failure, respiratory distress, or death. Keep a close eye on your pets during your backyard BBQ. If your pet does get into alcohol or toxic foods, go to your local animal emergency hospital immediately!
Be sure to keep these tips in mind when heading out to enjoy the “dog days of summer!” Happy Memorial Day!