By Janet Medcalf
Hot weather is upon us and all of us at the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society would like to offer the Greeneville Neighbor News readers some hot weather tips to help their pets stay cool.
If you have an outdoor pet, not only must it have access to shelter at all times, but it must have access to fresh water at all times.
Remember, the hot sun can evaporate water very quickly.
In this heat, your pet would even appreciate a few ice cubes thrown into its water bowl too!
You will want to make sure that your pet's bowl is stationary so it can't be knocked over.
We highly discourage chaining or tethering your dog, but if you do, you must ensure that your dog's leash does not get tangled up so that it is unable to reach its water bowl or shade.
Dogs can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads; therefore it is difficult for them to cool themselves down.
Dogs can die in just a couple of short hours if left in the sun without water or shade.
Signs that your pet is having a heat stroke are heavy panting and difficulty breathing.
Your pet will often drool and vomit as its body temperature rises to over 104 degrees.
It will become progressively unsteady and eventually collapse and become comatose before death occurs.
If your pet shows signs of heat stroke, the best way to help it is to get it cooled down.
Provide water to drink, and if possible, spray the pet with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool (but not iced) water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually.
You can also place your pet in front of an electric fan. Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws can also help.
Be careful not to use ice or cold water, and don't overcool the animal.
It's also important that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible and follow any advice he may offer.
In warm weather, we receive complaints regarding animals that people have left in their cars while they run errands.
Many of these people think that it will be okay if they leave their pet in the car while they run into the store "for just a minute or two," but many times, they will lose track of time and while they're shopping, their pet can actually suffer a heat stroke causing irreversible brain damage or death.
This can happen in as little as fifteen minutes!
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees.
On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than ten minutes. Remember, hot cars are a death trap for your pet!
What should you do if you see an animal that has been left in a hot car?
First write down the make, model, color and license plate number of the car.
Then you will want to go into the nearest store and ask the store manager if they will page the owner of the vehicle to come to the front so the manager can let them know that they need to take care of their pet so that it doesn't overheat.
If you get no cooperation from the store manager or the owner of the vehicle can't be located, you will then want to contact the local Police or Sheriff's Department and they will guide you from there.
Typically, law enforcement will ask that you stay near the vehicle until they arrive on the scene.
Many times officers will contact the Humane Society or Animal Control to take possession of the animal.
If you decide to travel with your pet in hot weather, please keep the following tips in mind and share them with others:
* Never leave your dog in the car, even if it feels cool outside.
* Remember dogs cannot cool down as effectively as humans
* Parking in the shade or leaving a window open does not make it safe.
* If you need to travel by car with your dog, avoid the heat of the day.
* Make sure you keep a ready supply of water available and make regular stops.
* Last, leave your dog at home if at all possible; it could be the difference between life and death.
The Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society would also like to share a website that has lots of helpful information including fliers and posters that can be printed for free.
It would be great if you could share this information with others so they can be warned of the dangers of leaving your pet in a hot car.
The website is MyDogIsCool.com
We hope this story brings more awareness to a serious problem and could save a pet's life!