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As America braces for a hot summer, the American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is reminding all dog owners that hot dogs belong on the grill, and not in your car.
Leaving a pet in a parked vehicle can be life-threatening in hot weather. Even when it’s a comfortable 70 degrees outside, temperatures inside a parked car can soar to dangerous levels in just minutes—exposing animals to serious risks of discomfort, illness and even death.
Heat exposure affects animals differently than humans and not only inside of hot cars. Dogs and other pets can quickly become dehydrated and overheated in just a matter of minutes while taking a walk or by just simply playing outside.
By following the simple tips below, you’ll ensure that your pet keeps cool during the dog days of summer:
* Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. Leaving a pet in a car for even a short time can have a deadly outcome. If you see a distressed dog inside a parked car on a warm day, immediately call your local animal control or law enforcement for help and stay with the animal until help arrives.
* Adjust exercise and walking schedules to cooler parts of the day. During hot summer months, even regular exercise can be dangerous for pets – and you may have to switch up your routine for walks to take place in the morning or the evening.
* If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Before taking your dog out on a walk, touch the surface of the sidewalk or street with the back of your hand. If the ground is too hot to touch for more than five seconds, this will also be the case for your pet.
* Ensure that your pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times while outdoors at home. Temperatures in your yard can increase to dangerous levels in just a few hours, and heat stroke can become a serious issue.
* Familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke. This can include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and/or bleeding of the gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomit and even coma.
* Learn to check your dog for possible dehydration. Gently pinch the skin over your dog’s shoulder, pull the skin away from its body, and then release it. The skin will slide right back into place if your dog is properly hydrated, but it will remain “tented” or return very slowly if your dog is dehydrated.
* Offer your dog a bowl of cool water to drink in small servings. If your dog swallows a significant amount of water in a short period of time, it could get sick and end up vomiting.
* Provide temporary relief to an overheated animal by applying cool (not icy) water on your pet’s skin with either a bath, hose or sponge until medical assistance can be reached.
* If your pet showed signs of heat stroke but has been cooled and now appears fine, do not assume that all is well. Internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation, so seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.
Summer with your pets can be a picnic if you follow these simple tips and remember that hot dogs belong on the grill, not in your car!
For more pet safety tips, visit AmericanHumane.org.
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, overseeing the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across the globe each year. Founded in 1877, American Humane has been First to Serve™ the cause of animals and for 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement. For more information or to support our lifesaving work, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our channel on YouTube for the latest breaking news and features about the animals with whom we share our Earth.