Keeping Your Dog Cool And Comfy!

Boarded and seated on the just unloaded late arrival plane in south Florida, patiently awaiting our departure, (row 17) I watch in front of me (row 16, aisle seat) a woman arrive with her “wipes” already in hand! (Weapon of choice against those pesky germs!) She is wiping everything in site about her: seat, overhead bin handle, sides of her seat, tray, etc… Next it’s the overhead air vents that she then twists closed with a vengeance, wipe still in hand as to not touch the twisting portion of the vent. I am with my son, he at the window and me in the middle. We are hot, sticky, sweaty, and so on, as the plane arrived clearly very stuffy, was unloaded and reloaded in turn-around time. I asked her what she was doing, as she twists the vent shut, clearly, my face past the glistening mode, and her response was she did not want “recirculating air blowing on her.” She was almost snotty in her defensive response. I offered her some Purell for extra insurance. She then warmly thanked me, realizing perhaps I was not the enemy!

All was fine for the next 15 minutes until she was then questioned about her furry passenger that the flight attendants felt (and I fully agreed) was too large for his carrying case and surely too large to go under the seat in front of her. I garnered a look at this fully fluffed dog and thought “Ohy, I thought I had it bad!” Poor guy: hot, dark, stuffy, scared and obviously uncomfortable. Suffice it to say Animal Joy had to turn on her computer, do some research and write an article about pets (namely dogs) and heat! It is summer after all and timing is everything!

On an 85-degree day the temperature can rise to 102 degrees inside a car with the windows slightly open in less than 10 minutes! In just 30 minutes it will rise to 120 degrees! Don’t leave your dogs in the car. Ever. They will surely suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in a car and it looks distressed call the police immediately.

Always make sure your pet is protected from the heat and sun. Keep fresh, cool water available for them at all times. I throw ice cubes in with the water and they love it. If you enjoy walking your dog adjust the intensity of your walk and perhaps the time of day that you walk. Early morning and evenings are obviously the best. Pets with white-colored ears are more susceptible to skin cancer and short-nosed pets have difficulty breathing when it is hot out. Check with your vet if you have a dog with either of those characteristics. Asphalt driveways get very hot and can burn the bottoms of your dogs’ feet. So take a “shortcut” on the grass!

In case of an emergency, it’s good to know the symptoms of heatstroke. Some of the signs are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, thirst, fever, lethargy, salivating, vomiting and/or a dark red or purple tongue. If you see these signs and you believe it could be heatstroke, apply ice packs and cold towels to the head and chest, give some sips of cool water and take your animal immediately to the vet.

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