How to Protect Your Pets During Summer Heat Driving
Pets have always provided companionship to many people for ages. And many would agree that the loyalty, love, and sense of well-being they provide to their caretakers are truly priceless.
Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to remember that hot temperatures and pets don’t mix very well. So before driving with your pet on to your next adventure, allow us to give you a rundown on how to protect your furry friends from getting scorched under the sun.
Keep dogs and cats indoors–whenever possible
Unlike humans, dogs and cats sweat only on small areas of the bodies. For instance, dogs do it through their noses and footpads, and cool themselves by panting. Cats, on the other hand, sweat through their paws, and release heat by licking their fur and panting as well.
Whenever possible, consider leaving your pets at home to prevent unnecessary heat stress and exhaustion. Going on a long trip with too much heat inside the car can be extremely stressful for them, and they only have limited ways of coping with heat.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion
Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress, injury, or death. What’s more, your pets don’t always show if they are already suffering from it. Make sure to look for these possible indicators of heat exhaustion and stress such as:
- Heavy/excessive panting
- Body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rapid heartbeat
- Redness of the tongue and mouth
- Lethargy or anxiety
- Pale gums
Don’t dress your pets in clothes
We understand how your pet looks cute with clothes on, but this increases their chances of heat stroke even further. Remember that your dogs are able to stay warm even during the coolest temperatures in the country, so wearing that sequined vest at the mall isn’t really that necessary.
Provide water and shade
Always carry a water bowl with you whenever you drive your pets somewhere. And make sure to provide them with enough water and shade when you leave them outside the car.
If you’re going over a long trip, fill an empty bottle with water, freeze them overnight, and place it on their water bowls when you give them something to drink.
It’s also important to consider the shifting sun rays during the day, so add multiple shades within different areas when you decide to stop over or camp out for a while.
Know how susceptible your pet is to heat exhaustion
Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun can have life-threatening consequences, particularly to Persian cats and other dog breeds like bulldogs, pugs, and boxers.
They are more susceptible to heat dangers because their short noses make for shorter airways. This makes it more difficult to pant. And when you muzzle your dog in the car, then you’re actually increasing their ability to pant even less.
Don’t place your dog on a truck’s bed
It’s made of metal, which can easily heat up and burn their sensitive paws. What’s more, it increases body temperature, which can lead to overheating.
By the way, this is also the same for asphalt. This concrete can easily absorb heat, and can burn their paws within minutes.
Walk–don’t run–your dogs
Driving your dog down to a park for their occasional romp and exercise is good for their health. Just make sure to go easy on them during hot weather. When you exercise them by running or cycling, don’t let them run–just walk them, instead. Don’t drive them hard that they have to keep up with your speed.
Oftentimes, dogs don’t show signs of problems, but will later just collapse when their body gives up from heat exhaustion. At this point, it might be too late to save them.
Never leave your pet in a parked car–EVER
Your car can act like an oven within minutes, and it doesn’t matter if you park it on a shaded area or leave your windows slightly open. It takes only minutes for dogs inside to succumb to heatstroke, so never leave them in the car for any amount of time.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): “On a 25-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to between 37 and 50 degrees in just minutes, and on a 32-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 71 degrees in less than 10 minutes.”
A good compromise would be to just let your pet tag along with you when you get out of the car. You can also let someone watch over them while your pet is strapped outside. Or simply don’t bring your pets with you if you know you’ll do a lot of stopovers during the day. It’s not worth the risk, especially if you’ll be driving all by yourself.
Stay alert and save a life! Keep an eye on all animals you see outdoors. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see animals in distress, provide them with water for immediate relief and then contact humane authorities right away. If you see an injured or suffering animal, call PETA at (0) 999-888-7382 / +63(2)8175292 or Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at +63(2)4751688.