With temperatures expected to reach the high 80s and low 90’s in Western Washington, it may be time for a refresher on how to keep your pets safe.
Most people know the warning to not keep their pets unattended in cars in the heat, even if you’re “just running in the store.” (How many times have you ended up in a long checkout line you didn’t expect?) Your pet can suffer serious heat-related illnesses or heat stroke in a matter of minutes. You could even be charged with first-degree animal cruelty in Washington. It's a felony punishable by prison time and a ban from owning animals.
It’s also important to keep your pets safe at home and even outdoors.
"They'll have panting issues and they'll just be very lethargic and some of the signs that owners will see at home will be vomiting and just not doing well,” said veterinarian Dr. Jane Chang.
Another sign to look for is bluish or gray gums instead of light pink.
If you start to notice the signs of heat illness for your dog or cat, fill up a fresh bowl of water but don't use any ice. The goal is to get their core body temperature cooled down slowly.
"Soak their whole body with some cold water and then go ahead and contact your vet immediately or take them into the vet immediately,” said Dr. Chang.
The vet can determine what’s wrong or even if heat stroke is happening.
"We go ahead and put them on some oxygen and try to get the core body temperature down, but not too rapidly and we get them on some IV fluids,” said Chang.
When walking your pet on hot days, do it in the morning or late in the evening. Make sure they are walking on grass or dirt, not hot pavement. A good cool down should follow high-energy activities in the heat.
Animals with short muzzles like pugs, bulldogs and cats are more susceptible to heat stroke.