Posted in cats, dogs, pet health, rabbits

Hot dog days

We didn’t expect to have to mow our lawn until after Decoration Day. Whatever it is – polar ice caps melting, or El Nino driving the ocean’s currents amok – we’ve been getting unseasonably warm weather. And here we are, only at the first day of June. So how are your pets taking it?

Now that there’s no need for the furnace to run, we don’t find the cats under our blankets when we come home at the end of the day. They’ve been window gazing, waiting for the neighborhood tomcats to pass by. At night we hear them serenade the femme felines of the area.

Our cats have been neutered, but they still can dream.

What happens when it gets hot, hazy and humid outside? We have melted meows.

Their way of perspiring isn’t known for being attractive. You see a puppy running around with its tongue hanging out, and you can be sure its internal temperature is rising. They lose moisture from lollygagging around with tongues a-wag, so make sure you carry clean water with you to wet your pet’s thirst in the heat.

Having a fur coat makes it all the more important to keep pets well-hydrated. It’s difficult to release heat when fur is in the way.

If the temperature gets over 80 degrees, expect to keep your four-footed friends in the shade and forego running games. Stay away from paved areas that can radiate heat. And never, ever leave your pet in a parked car where temperatures can be more than 25 degrees hotter than outside, even on a mildly warm day. Within minutes, your pet can develop heat stroke, which can be lethal.

When the heat is unrelenting, and you lack air conditioning to remove moisture from the air, make a cool spot for your pet in the shade. There are several kennel covers and shades on the market. Provide a steady supply of cool water to drink. Leave a fan oscillating to provide a cooling breeze. Use a cooling mat that your pet can lie on to reduce its body temperature; there are several types available. Put just a few ice cubes in your pet’s water too.

Signs of heat stroke include elevated body temperature (over 104F.), disorientation, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and coma. If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, call your veterinarian immediately. Use cool (but not cold) compresses on your pet’s body, and follow your vet’s instructions.

The hot weather seems to have inspired an uneasy truce between our cats, who are usually vying for the best shady spot on the enclosed porch. Their limp legs are splayed out from beneath their furry forms, and it’s peaceful to see them resting there. And quiet.

That’s my kind of holiday.

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Owned by three cats over age 13