Eye on Extension: Hot summer weather and your pets’ emergency care

MONTE VISTA — We are well aware of the need to protect our pets during extreme hot or cold weather. 

However, even when the weather isn’t extreme we need to pay attention to our pets to keep them safe and healthy. There are several steps we can take to insure our pets are safe when outdoors or in hot or cold places.

The first step is to be prepared. When we plan ahead we can reduce the possibility of having an emergency with our pet due to the weather. Let your veterinarian know if you will be traveling with your pet. They can give you some tips. Take water for your pet with you when traveling, going to the park or hiking. If there isn’t any shade where you are going take some with you. Also, keep you animal healthy by protecting them from parasites including ticks, fleas etc. Parasites can create additional stress on your animals.

When possible, leave your pets at home. Especially when going to town for a while.  They are more comfortable in a place they know. Set the house up to have different temperature zones. This allows the animal to choose its own comfort place. Also, if something new comes up while you are away the animals won’t be in a hot car or become a problem. Never leave a pet in the car, even in the shade or with windows cracked. Cars can overheat quickly to deadly temperatures, even when the weather isn’t severe.

Keep your pets in good physical condition. If they are in good condition they will be more comfortable in different weather conditions. They will be able to move and have fun when outside, even if it is in the yard. Overweight and short–nosed dogs will have a harder time in hot weather than other animals. Don’t walk, run or hike with pets during the hot part of the day. If it is hot for you it will be even hotter for your animals. Take frequent breaks. Bring plenty of water for you and for your pet.  Avoid hot surfaces, such as asphalt, that can burn the feet of your animal. 

If you have animals in the yard, make sure the plants in the yard are safe for your animals. Store fertilizers and other lawn care products where the animals cannot get to them. If you use a lawn care service make sure they are aware that you have pets.  They can adjust any lawn treatments if necessary.

Know the signs of heat stress in your pets. If they exhibit these signs then it is time to get treatment and relief from the heat right away.

Signs of Heat Stress in a Pet:

Seek emergency veterinary care if you observe any of these signs:

• Anxiousness

• Excessive Panting

• Restlessness

• Excessive Drooling

• Unsteadiness

• Abnormal gum and tongue color

• Collapse

Emergency care for a pet is more expensive than preventative care. If you are away from home keep in mind that you will need to pay for any care you receive. Keep your veterinary clinic phone number handy. Know how to stop bleeding when applying a pressure bandage. Know how to do pet CPR. If your pet has an injury it won’t like anyone touching the area; a muzzle may be needed to protect anyone helping your pet. Know how to put a muzzle on as well.

If you have questions, contact your local veterinarian. Or, you can also call the Colorado State University Extension, San Luis Valley Area Office at 719-852-7381.

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination, Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.