Weather Precautions for Pets

So how is everyone’s spring so far? Mine has been uneventful (which in the feline world is never a bad thing). I hear the weather has been the typical Virginia spring of warm, cold, hot, chilly, warm, hot… completely indecisive! I guess now would be a good time to go over some concerns that the spring weather can bring.
Last time I discussed plant toxicity and stressed the importance of researching before breaking out the green thumb. Now the research you need to do is as simple as turning on the TV, internet or radio and checking the temperature.
Many people enjoy the routine of taking out the dog and going for a walk or a jog, or even go for car rides (like to the dog park, etc.). This is fine, but you need to be sure that you and your dog are prepared for the temperature throughout the day. I realize that it is not quite summer yet, but I think that also gives the misconception that it will not get as hot just because it is spring. It does not take much to make a car turn into a sauna. According to, a study done at Stanford University Medical Center found that a car’s inside temperature can increase by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, even on a 70-degree day. That means that what might be considered a perfect spring day outside can potentially be life threatening inside of a vehicle. Anytime any animal is in a car, hot or cold, warm, cool, sunny, dreary, whatever it may be, owners MUST take responsibility and make 100% sure that their pet is comfortable and in a safe environment. This applies to any environment that an animal is in, not just vehicles. In Virginia it is illegal to leave a pet in the car if the outside temperature is 70 degrees or higher.
For anyone who exercises with their pets (whatever that pet may be), it is also important to consider the weather before going for a walk, jog, or even taking out in the yard to play. Dogs especially can over-exert themselves and overheat quickly. Unlike humans, dogs usually do not know when to stop so owners need to be cautious and do it for them when necessary. Take into consideration the breed(s) of your pets as some breeds are predisposed to having heart issues, respiratory issues (like Bulldogs, Pekingese & Persians for example) and issues with obesity. These can be especially taxing in warm weather and extra caution should be taken to prevent hyperthermia or overexertion.
In an article on hyperthermia on, it gives some helpful advice on what to do and what NOT to do. So what should you do in this situation? First take your pet out of the location where they developed hyperthermia to a cool, shaded area and if possible, direct a fan in your pet’s direction. Taking your pet’s temperature (rectally) and recording it is ideal. Apply cool, wet towels to back of the neck, groin area and armpits and if possible, wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Keeping a fan directly in your pet’s direction during this time can greatly help the cooling process until you can get them to a veterinary hospital (which should be done ASAP!).
What should you not do? Probably what most people would think to do first: giving cold water or ice cubes. Keep room temperature water available but do not force them to drink it. You also should stay with your pet or have someone monitoring them at all times until you reach the veterinary facility so DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED!!
Speaking of all this warmth, it is time for me to do my daily sunbathing. Until next time…
Meows, Mason