While the phrase “dog days of summer” actually originates from the Greek’s constellation system Dog Star, or Sirius, which rises simultaneously with the sun during the hottest days of summer, most of us relate the phrase to these oppressively hot days of mid-summer.
At PetWellClinic® in Knoxville and Alcoa, we know that East Tennessee’s sweltering temperatures can too easily cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke—both dangerous conditions for our pets.
Heat exhaustion is generally the early stages when a pet begins overheating, and may show as heavy panting or difficulty breathing. Symptoms of heatstroke may also include heavy panting and difficulty breathing, as well as lack of coordination, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, heavy salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Heat stroke can lead to organ failure, seizures, and even death.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Dogs can’t cool themselves by sweating like humans can. They rely on panting to regulate body temperature so some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, bull dogs, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a harder time breathing and cooling themselves in extreme heat. Here are some tips to help your furry friends stay safe through the rest of the summer.
Your pets should have access to water both inside and outside. Make sure his or her water bowl outside is in the shade so the water stays as cool as possible. Metal bowls can heat up quickly and possibly burn your pet’s tongue. You may want to fill your pet’s bowl with half water and half ice to maintain a cooler temperature. If you’re out and about with your pet carry an extra bottle of water with you as well as a small container for him to drink from.
Limit exercise and avoid pavement
Be cautious when exercising your pet on hot days, and adjust both the intensity and duration of exercise according the temperature. On very hot and humid days, limit exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours. Be aware that pavement can get painfully hot and could burn your dog’s paws, so let your dog walk on grass if possible.
Car Common Sense
Don’t leave your pets in a parked car, even for a very short errand, and even in the shade with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a car can climb within minutes and spike more than 40 degrees in just an hour on a summer day. Leave your pets home when you’re running errands—it’s not worth the risk.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, call your vet immediately and bring her into a cool room, and rub cool to room-temperature water on her. Even if your pet appears to cool down, consult your vet to see if he or she recommends monitoring the pet for signs of internal distress.
By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for preventative products, vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions. Think of us as a “minute clinic” for your pet—no appointment necessary, with quick in and out service. You can save even more time by pre-registering and pre-paying online for our walk-in clinics.
PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; and 228 S. Calderwood Street in Alcoa. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.