June 29, 2018 Press Release
Berkshire Humane Society advises all residents of the Berkshires and surrounding areas to be mindful of their pets’ safety during the forecasted heat wave. With expected temperatures in the 90s and an even higher heat index, it is extremely important to keep pets indoors and out of the sun, constantly hydrated, and well groomed. The heat is predicted this weekend through the end of the week.
Ideally pets live indoors with their families. If they must spend time outside, please make sure they have constant shade throughout their time outdoors even as the sun moves across the sky. Provide plenty of water along with ice cubes. Consider setting up a kiddie pool for dogs that enjoy playing in water, and make sure that water bowls and pools are in a shaded area.
If your pet has long or thick fur, be sure to groom them daily (aka brushing) to remove excess fur and to keep fur from becoming matted. If a dog is groomed properly and regularly, the insulation provided by the undercoat can help protect a dog; however, if your dog’s hair is not regularly brushed or has become matted, the undercoat no longer insulates your dog, which can make it harder for their bodies to cool. If appropriate, you can have a groomer shave your dog, but check with your vet (or trusted groomer) to make sure this is appropriate for your dog’s breed and coat. Here is additional info about shaving and grooming your pet.
Limit the amount of outdoor play, opting instead to play inside over the next week. Keep walks short and avoid hot sidewalks and pavement when possible. Take walks in the early morning or late evening.
Never leave a pet inside a car, even with windows cracked or with the AC running. On average, the inside temperature of a car on a warm day is 20+ degrees hotter than outside the car. On a hot day, this temperature increase can be even greater. The heat rise occurs within minutes of leaving a pet, and extreme heat can kill your pet or cause irreversible organ damage in an extremely short period of time.
If you’re hot, so is your pet. Animals respond different to heat than humans. For example, dogs pant and sweat through their feet, therefore fans do not adequately cool them. Outdoor dog houses restrict airflow and can be deadly. Make arrangements for your pets if you must be away from home or cannot keep them with you.
When exposed to extreme temperatures, pets can experience heatstroke. According to the Humane Society of the United States, heatstroke is characterized by “heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.” Learn more here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_safe_heat_wave.html
Additionally, with the approach of the July 4th holiday, please follow these helpful tips provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
- Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them.
- Do not apply sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
- Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pet’s reach.
- Keep your pets on their normal diet.
- Do not put glow jewelry on your pets or allow them to play with it.
- Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torch oil products out of reach.
- Never use fireworks around pets.
- Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets.