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Four-Legged Friends: How To Survive The Scorching Summer


So, you may have noticed: it’s HOT.  Now just imagine if you were covered in FUR?!

We took a trip to the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County to get better insight into what it’s like for man’s best friend to survive the summer heat.

ID: I’m Ilka Daniel and I am the director of Animal Protective Services.

WA: I’m Will Anzenberger. I am the director of Development & Marketing.

TOC:  And this is Pi.

WA: (laughing) And this is Pi.

Pi is an 8-year-old French Bulldog. His smushed face makes him sound like this: (snorts).

WA: So, you can see, that’s normal and we are in an air-conditioned room. So, if we go outside you can hear him start to have difficulty breathing.

These types of breeds that have smushed faces – including Pekinese, Japanese Chins, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boston Terriers – they have a much harder time getting an adequate exchange of air even under the best of circumstances and need extra protection in hot temperatures. Still, for ALL dogs, the summer heat poses many threats. Even just going for a walk, for example. Black pavement absolutely burns their feet.

ID: I think people look at the pads and think they’re tough, that they are like a rubber sole, because dogs are hardy and they’re tough.

WA: You know, you just have to think that if you’re not willing to walk barefoot, just think that your dogs don’t have shoes, so it’s going to be painful for dogs to even walk outside when it’s 90 degrees and plus.

Solutions are to walk them in early morning or late afternoon or stick to grass or lighter colored sidewalks. Or just go to a dog park. And think about shoes.

WA: There are booties that you can buy for dogs.

A major no-no is leaving your dog in the car with the windows cracked, even for a few minutes.

ID: Anybody who loves their pet enough to take it with them really doesn’t mean harm. I think they just don’t understand how quickly the elements can get out of hand.

It’s been documented in studies that even on a day in the 70s, in just 20 minutes, the temperature inside the car goes up 20 to 30 degrees. That means it gets to be 90 to 100 degrees inside!

ID: Once a dog’s body temperature or cat reaches above 105, you are looking at organ damage, neurological damage, and they are literally roasting from the inside out because they can’t regulate their temperature.

If you see an animal in this situation, call 911, and stay back so you don’t cause the animal to bark and overheat more rapidly. First responders will then push a thermometer inside the car, and if they can’t locate the owner, they’ll break the window if the situation is deadly.

ID: Hopefully we can reach out to people and just let them know that unless you are in the car with your dog, you know, it’s best for them to stay home.

Even in the best circumstances, the heat can still overcome your pet. Signs of overheating include extreme panting and drooling. They can become very wobbly, and the heart and respiratory rates increase tremendously.

ID: If they see that, the very best thing they can do is get their pet in an air-conditioned car and rush to the nearest vet as soon as possible.

And do NOT give them an ice bath!

WA: You have to watch out. You can’t go from one extreme to the other.

Only your veterinarian will know how to …

ID: slowly lower the body temperature in the safest way possible.

Get more tips here: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips