School is ending and pools are opening, but what about keeping pets happy and healthy during the summer?
It's fun to take your pet with you on trips around town, especially during the summer. But remember if you leave a pet in a vehicle even for as little as 10 minutes you could be risking their life.
On a hot day the inside of a vehicle heats up very quickly. The temperatures don't even need to be in the 90s to be dangerous for a dog. On an 85-degree day, your vehicle with windows slightly opened will reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Keep in mind that on hot, humid days the temperature can rise more than 30 degrees per minute. At 110 degrees, a dog can suffer heatstroke.
Why is that? A dog is actually designed to conserve heat. The only sweat glands they have are in the nose and pads of the paws and those are inadequate to cool a dog on a hot day. Instead, the cooling process is evaporation through panting. But in a vehicle’s closed interior without fresh air, panting won't cool them down. Once a dog's body temp reaches 107 degrees there is little time before suffering brain damage.
If you see an animal suffering from the heat, move him or her to shade or inside to air conditioning. Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest or immerse in cool water. Allow small amounts of hydration or let them lick ice or immediately visit a veterinarian.
A good rule of thumb is if it's too hot for you it's too hot for your pet. So when outside make sure there is good ventilation, plenty of shade and plenty of cool water. And don't leave anyone behind in a vehicle. Even if you're delayed a few minutes, it could kill your dog.
The Nebraska Humane Society at 8929 Fort Street in Omaha is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at nehumanesociety.org.