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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hot Dogs

  Summer has hit and we love to enjoy all of the fun that the sun has to offer. We camp, go to the beach, and we shop. But summertime is not always friendly to your furry buddies. Scores of companion animals die every year from heatstroke and respiratory failure, and a large number of these deaths are preventable.They die in parked cars.

  Almost all of us have sizzled our thighs hopping into a car while wearing shorts, so we know that it is toasty. But just how hot is it? A car can become hot enough to kill a dog in temperatures as low as 65 F. Think of those windows like the magnifying glass that (some) kids use to scorch ants and you'll get a better idea. A 70 F car can reach 120 in less than half an hour and if the temperature outside is 90, it will hit 160 inside your Audi in minutes. A quick run into the hoagie shop can barbecue your buddy. Certain breeds of dogs like pugs, pomeranians, and bulldogs can die from respiratory failure in a matter of minutes or wind up with permanent organ, brain, and lung damage. Other breeds of dogs are also susceptible because panting and their paws are the only ways they can cool themselves. Even cats (my cat loves car rides) can succumb during a grocery store run.
  Mr. Sun is not always a friend of your best friend.

  The safest place for your buddy is indoors. It is better to come home to crap on a rug than hop into a car with a corpse in it. If your pal comes along for rides, make sure he has a good supply of water . A cooler with ice packs is a great idea if you have a small-breed dog or bulldog. If you have a long-haired dog, trim it but leave at least an inch of fur as they can become painfully sunburned even in a moving vehicle. If you must leave your vehicle, take your dog or cat with you or at least find a shady spot where your dog can relax with a bone and a bowl of water. Use your head and your Samoyed won't sizzle.

  Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the fuzzy one still manages to become overcome by temperature and humidity. Signs of heatstroke include moodiness, vomiting, extreme try panting, a dark tongue, an erratic heartbeat, and a loss of coordination. If Rover exhibits these symptoms, get him to the shade and call a vet. You can lower a dog or cat's (this also works for pot-bellied pigs, ferrets, and all sorts of critters people have as pals) temperature (gradually please, otherwise you can put your pal into shock) by applying a wet towel or ice pack to the head and chest or placing the animal in a tub of warmish (not ice cold) water. Offer plenty of water and graduate to soft food when your buddy seems to be able to handle it without choking. Bingo should soon be back to chasing tennis balls if you assist in his recovery.

  Pets offers unconditional love and calm us when we're feeling angry or sad. Even if they come from "Toy" breeds (a term I personally find abhorrent) , they are anything but. All you need is to see the goofy look on your pug's face or hear your siamese sing to know that these small bundles of silliness are pretty rad. And like all members of your family, they can get sick. I encourage everyone to take a Pet First Aid Course and use common sense to ensure that summertime is a blast for everyone.

Be well.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU for posting this. It is the perfect time. just before the sweltering heat hits. We must take care of all the animals who give us unconditional love continiously.


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