As triple-digit temperatures bake Southern California this week, many pets are at increased risk of heatstroke and death.
Dogs with flat faces are the most susceptible to heat-related injury. And while it's illegal to keep pets in cars in hot conditions, it's also dangerous to leave an animal in a yard without shade.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles has a list of hot-weather tips for pet owners:
- Keep plenty of clean, cool drinking water available at all times for your pet, including when traveling. If your pets are left alone during the day, ensure that their bowl is tip-proof.
- Keep your pet at home. Never leave your pet in a parked car, not even for a minute.
- Protect your pet from the sun. If your pet must stay in the yard (instead of the cool indoors which is recommended) be sure there is adequate shade and ventilation, in addition to water.
- Keep pets groomed. To help your pet stay cool, clip coats short, but not shaved. Sunburn is a danger to animals, especially light-colored animals. Apply regular sun block to vulnerable areas such as the ears and nose.
- Dog pads burn easily, so avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt on hot days. Exercise pets in the morning or evening when it is cooler. After hiking, make sure to check for fox tails and other burns, as these can cause major problems.
- If a pet is overcome by heat (detected by excessive panting, heavily salivating, and/or immobility) immerse him or her slowly in cool water to lower body temperature, and then go to a veterinarian. Never immerse a pet in ice cold water, as it may cause shock.