Good morning Houston!
The forecast for today is hot & oppressive with a oven-esque dry breeze and little to no chance of relief in site. I don’t know about yall but that is how I interpret the forecasters as they work their way through the dog days of summer here in Houston. I never quite understood what it was like to live in an incinerator until I left the lush, cool lakes of New England and relocated here to Houston a year ago. So much heat, so little rain, and no relief in site. It has been quite an adjustment for myself as well as my best friend Belle. She is a beautiful black lab/dane mix sitting at 88lbs and 9 sprite years of age she is hardly impressed with the effect of the sun on her shiny black coat. Although she enjoys the year round duck chasing and swimming, these next few months are going to be tough. Even a short trot to the post box and back leaves her panting and searching for a sip of water. It is important to understand the inherent risks that the Houston heat poses to our pets each and every day. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow when protecting our precious pets.
- Keep your pet with you at all times, leaving pets in cars even for a short time can be dangerous and in some cases even fatal. Studies have shown that leaving a pet in a car with an exterior temperature of 75 can elevate to 125 degrees in a matter of 5-10mins. In the Houston climate a interior temperature of a car can reach 125 in less than 2 mins! Those quick errands into the store can take a devastating toll on your pet.
- Be aware of antifreeze leaks, which are a year round concern but occur often in the hot summer months when cars are more likely to overheat and leak. Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste which attract pets to ingest the harmful chemical. Even a small amount ingested can cause a serious health risk to pets and can prove fatal. Be sure to clean any leaks and dispose of old antifreeze properly.
- If your pet is kept outside please provide ample fresh water and shade. If at all possible provide relief for your pet in the A/C during the peak sun exposure, 10am-4pm.
- Dogs inherently are great swimmers and most love to splash in a pool, lake or ocean. Be mindful of exhaustion and the ocean currents and waves.
- When jogging with your pet limit the distance and pace during the hot days. To decrease the possibility of heat stroke schedule jogs early in the morning or late at dusk.
- Always watch for signs of heatstroke which include:
Dark or bright red tongue and gums
- Excessive Panting
- Bloody Diarrhea
- Body temp of 103 or higher
*If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke please contact your veterinarian immediately
Belle and I are slowly learning to adapt to the heat here in Houston, and being aware of the dangers will make for a cool, fun summer.
By Charlotte Weir, Sunset Blvd Animal Clinic is a full service veterinary hospital located in the Rice University/Medical Center area of Houston. Visit them online at www.sunsetblvdanimalclinic.com and be sure to vote for your favorite pet to be the new face of Sunset Blvd Animal Clinic and win a YEAR of FREE FOOD!!!