Protect Pets From Heat Stress and Stroke | Families

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Protect Pets From Heat Stress and Stroke

Like humans, pets are susceptible to overheating. Older dogs, flat-faced dogs, overweight dogs and puppies have the highest risk of heat stroke or heat stress, but owners should make sure that all pets have plenty of cool water and a source of continuous shade when outdoors as temperatures rise across Jacksonville.

Owners should limit dogs being out during the middle of the day and avoid taking them to the beach and/or to areas that are paved, which can result in burns or injuries to a dog’s feet.  Dogs should be exercised only during early morning and late evening hours when the sun is less intense.  Days with high humidity magnify the problems and put dogs at higher risk.

Pets should NEVER be left alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether or not the windows are open. Even on mild days, a car left in the shade can reach dangerous temperatures. In less than 10 minutes, the temperature in a car parked in the shade can increase as much as 40 degrees above the outside temperature and in direct sunlight those temperatures can increase 60 to 80 degrees.

The normal body temperature range of a dog is 101 to102 degrees.  If that temperature rises to 106 degrees, there is real danger of brain damage and vital organ failure. Anyone spotting a pet that is in immediate distress and unresponsive should contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for emergency dispatch. All other reports should be made to the city’s Animal Care & Protective Services Division at 630-CITY (2489).

Signs of fatigue due to the heat may include a bright red tongue; thick, sticky saliva; rapid panting and weakness; dizziness; vomiting; diarrhea and shock. If a pet becomes overheated, it is important to calm the animal and give it cool, not cold, water to drink. If it cannot drink, roll the animal onto its back and place icepacks or a cool wet towel on its abdomen to lower body temperature and seek immediate veterinary attention. 

E-mail for more information about these or other pet precautions.


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