Pets in Arizona Heat

Summertime and the living is easy—Not! People from all over the world move here and think it is like where they come from, only better—Not! We have heat that is deadly in a very short time for both human and animal life. For ourselves and our pets, we need to stay vigilant, aware of signs and symptoms, and know what actions to take immediately. Watch out for them. They will follow you to the end of the world, no matter what.

Pets are sometimes considered human—Not! Their body temperature is higher than ours, and they are not able to cool down efficiently or quickly. Humans are covered with sweat glands, but dogs only have the nose and pads of the feet. Dogs regulate body temperature by panting which is not very efficient. In a very short time, an overheated dog can suffer severe, irreversible damage to the brain, heart, liver, and nervous system.

Heatstroke Can Be Deadly in People and Pets. There are several ways this occurs: 1) dogs left in cars, 2) lack of drinking water, 3) humid conditions, 4) overexertion, 5) obesity.

Higher-Risk Pets: 1) brachycephalic breeds, flat faced dogs, 2) older pets, 3) puppies, 4) pets that are ill or have a chronic health condition, 5) pets not used to the hot weather, 6) any pet left outside in the heat.

Watch for these Symptoms: 1) elevated body temperature, 2) weakness or collapse, 3) heavy panting or very rapid breathing, 4) bright or dark red tongue or gums, 5) excessive drooling, 6) staggering or stumbling, 7) glazed eyes, 8) vomiting, bloody diarrhea, 9) excessive thirst, 10) seizures, 11) increased pulse and heartbeat, 12) unconsciousness.

Take Immediate Action: 1) Move to air conditioning or a shady, cooler spot out of direct sunlight. 2) If they are conscious and able to stand, offer a small amount of cool, but not ice water. Too much water and they will vomit and become dehydrated. 3) Call your veterinarian for further instructions.

If not able to stand or unresponsive or having a seizure, check for breathing and a heartbeat. Call the closest vet and be on your way. Immediately start cooling him down with cool, not cold water, using towels or hose. Special attention to the head, neck, underneath the front and back legs. Drizzle some water over the tongue, but not into the mouth, as it will go to the lungs. Never put water into the mouth of a pet that cannot swallow on their own. You can speed this up with a fan blowing on them and take their temperature frequently. If below 104 degrees, stop the cooling. Get to the veterinarian immediately.

Do Not Walk on Paved Surfaces: Not only can you burn the feet, but the heat rising can overheat the pet. Do not stand, walk, or rest on hot outdoor surfaces.

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