The Impact of Extreme Heat on Pets

July 24, 2023
By: Adriana Valle

An industry friend recently shared a viral post about a woman in the Houston area baking bread in her mailbox. The post claimed that the daytime temperatures were so high, the bread baked in less than an hour. While the jury is still out on whether or not the bread fully baked in the mailbox, the post serves as a great reminder that extreme heat is nothing to mess with. Today, we want to remind you of the impact of extreme heat on pets and ways to avoid heat-specific injury and illness.

Heat-Related Illness & Injury in Dogs

In dogs, heat-related illness and injury are quite common. Because dogs tend to accompany their owners on adventures more often than cats do, they are more frequently exposed to heat-related dangers. From heat stroke to death, heat injuries can escalate quickly.

Heat injuries in dogs are classified according to severity. The stages are progressive and start with heat stress, increasing in severity to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke. Once a dog reaches heat stroke, their life is in danger. Heat stress and exhaustion can also have serious consequences including long-term health effects and death, if they are left untreated and are allowed to progress.

Heat-Related Illness & Injury in Cats

While cats are often left at home and less often included in family adventures, cats too can experience heat illness and injury. The risk of such conditions increases when cats travel by car, are kept in unventilated areas, or are forced to remain in an area with little access to shade and cooling.

Cats, like dogs, experience heat injury in stages. Per The Spruce Pets, the signs of heat illness and injury in cats include the following symptoms; most of which are the same in dogs:

Preventing Heat Injury in Pets

To prevent heat injury in pets, consider leaving pets at home during peak heat. Relocate pets if your HVAC unit malfunctions to ensure they aren’t left in potentially dangerous temperatures.

When walking dogs, do so early in the morning or late at night. Walks before sunrise and sunset are ideal but any time during which temperatures are at or below 80 degrees is best. If you live in an area where summer temperatures never drop below 80 degrees, shorten walks in addition to timing them during the coolest time of the day. Thankfully, in Old Saybrook and its environs, summer temperatures are usually safe for extended activity and exercise before 10 AM and after 6 PM. Many trails can also be shaded enough to enjoy during the day.

Furthermore, never leave pets in cars. Even cars left running can get warm. We cannot trust that our car AC will run indefinitely. Many accidental pet deaths related to heat stroke result from leaving a pet in a vehicle for longer than planned. Pet parents will walk into a store for a quick purchase, for example, only to get distracted. The best way to avoid this painful yet common tragedy is to leave pets at home. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, parked car interior temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes even during moderate temperatures. They recommend you “Look before you lock!” Accidents happen and, as we always say, prevention is key.

shoreline happy paws logo 2023

The Best for Connecticut Shoreline Pets

At Shoreline Happy Paws, we pride ourselves on making prevention and education a priority. When we learn something new and relevant, we share it with our staff and our clients. Our goal is always to ensure that the pets in our care and in our extended family get the best, most conscientious care.

Our team specializes in dog walking, dog hiking adventures, as well as dog and cat sitting services in the following areas of the Connecticut Shoreline:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank 

Please contact us by phone or text at 860-964-0464 or via email at info@cthappypaws.com to learn more.

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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