PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With a heat wave expected over the weekend, many have been busy thinking up ways to stay cool. And experts warn warmer temperatures not only pose a danger to people but also their furry companions.
KOIN 6 meteorologists are predicting temperatures to surpass 90 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, and with that comes a risk of heat stroke and exhaustion in both humans and animals.
Pet experts say it’s important for owners to know their animal’s limitations as it can be what turns a fun outing to a trip to the emergency room.
Here are some ways to keep pets safe in the hot weather:
- Do not leave a pet in a car: Temperatures inside a closed car can bake to more than 120 degrees within minutes — and cracking a window or parking in shade does not alleviate those dangers.
- Give pets extra water: Their water bowls should be filled frequently through the day.
- Protect pets’ paws from hot surfaces: If the ground is too hot for you to walk barefoot or touch with your hands, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Asphalt is much hotter than the air temperatures.
- Do not overdo outdoor exercise: Walks and play should be accompanied by frequent breaks in the shade and lots of water. Along with that, owner should plan on getting their dogs out-and-about in the morning or evening hours to beat peak temperatures.
- Take extra precaution with older dogs and dogs with shorter noses: Summer heat can take a toll on these dogs as they’re more likely to suffer heat stroke.
- Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog: Unprotected areas like the tips of ears, skin around lips and tip of the nose should be doused in pet-safe sunscreen. Officials say if it’s safe for babies, it’s safe for pets.
- Do not leave windows open while pets are unattended: Accidents like a fall from a window are reportedly more common when its warm. Further, window screens do not necessarily stop a pet from falling.
- Stay indoors when in doubt: People should consider staying indoors during the hours temperatures peak.
These are the signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats:
- Warm and dry skin
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid heartbeat
- Staring or anxious expressions
- Uncoordinated movements or collapse
Owners can use cool, soaked towels on the hairless areas of the pet’s body, like around the ears, foot pads, belly and inner thighs to help cool their pets. For those water-loving animals that may already be drenched, experts recommend using a fan to keep their body temperatures down.
Even if it appears your furry friend is cooled off, they should still be checked out by a veterinarian.
Further, pet experts warn extreme changes in body temperatures can be dangerous for pets, so owners should avoid fully immersing them in water or using ice on them.
If a pet appears to be experiencing heatstroke, owners should immediately call a veterinarian.