Summer officially starts on June 21st this year. But the heat waves common to May and June are already here. There are all-too-common reports of death due to excessive heat. One such report was in the news recently. As this story unfolded, the outrage that follows such an event is understandable. But sadly, there are many other much more innocent deaths of pets that could be prevented with precautions and common sense.
I remember a client that once took both of is his Standard Poodles hiking up South Mountain. The dogs were not as well-conditioned as he thought. It was in the Springtime as I recall. First one, and then both of his dogs became distressed. By the time he carried them down the mountain to his car, both dogs succumbed to the heat.
Certain breeds are more susceptible to the effects of heat. All “brachycephalic” breeds such as Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekinese have limited respiratory capacity and special care must be given to them.
Overweight dogs will more easily overheat that lean ones. Older dogs, dogs with heart conditions, kidney disease and arthritis are also at greater risk.
- Make sure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Dehydration is a common complication leading to heat stress or heat stroke.
- Near leave your dog in a closed vehicle without the refrigeration on. This scenario is one that plays out on the evening news in the Valley with disturbing frequency.
- Keep dogs indoors or in a well shaded area during the summer. Consider installing a mister to cool the ambient temperature in the dry summer months.
Our pets are like our kids in more ways than one. They both rely on us to provide a safe and comfortable environment to live. And they are defenseless against the neglect or carelessness of us adults.
Be safe and enjoy the summer, but take the necessary precautions for your beloved family members.
Dr. Tenney 6/4/2014