Pets and Heat: Red Cross Steps to Keep Pets Safe

Pet Safety

When temperatures soar, the hotter weather can pose a danger to family pets. The American Red Cross has steps to take to ensure your pet stays safe this summer:

HOT CARS DEADLY FOR PETS Pet owners should not leave their animal in the car - even for a few minutes - when the hot weather arrives. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Pet owners are urged to refrain from leaving animals in the car, even with the windows cracked open.

ANIMALS CAN SUFFER HEAT STROKE Heat stroke is a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are prone to heat stroke. This is also true for any obese pet, a pet with an extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea. Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are:

  • Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down.
  • Brick red gum color
  • Fast pulse rate
  • Unable to get up.
  • If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

    PLANT HAZARDS Pet owners also need to be aware that animals may try to get out a window or door, which are more likely to be open as the weather warms. And some plants in your garden can be hazardous to animals. For instance, many lilies are very poisonous to cats. Visit the Animal Poison Control Center to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals.

    Your pet is part of the family. And just like any other family member, pets deserve to be cared for and protected. Follow these important steps to help keep your pet at their best:

  • Give your pet plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will help your pet feel better and live longer.
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, cool water.
  • Get to know a veterinarian and make sure your pet has yearly checkups.
  • Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines, especially rabies.
  • Get your pet spayed or neutered.
  • Keep dogs on leashes outside – another animal may be too much temptation.
  • Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available.
  • PET FIRST AID APP Pet owners can download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for veterinary advice for everyday pet emergencies at their fingertips. The app features videos, quizzes and step-by-step advice on pet first aid.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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