Don’t forget your pets: Ways to keep them cool during hot weather

SEATTLE — With very warm temperatures in the forecast this week, it’s important to remember that pets are especially prone to the dangers that come when temperatures spike.

“Even when it’s not that hot, it gets so hot in the car. Even just sitting in there because it’s like a globe. And then sometimes I’ll run into the store to grab something real quick, and then I come back and he’s already panting,” said Seattle dog owner Jenny Mounivong.

Mounivong’s dog, Arthur Franklin-Fuji, will not be spending any time alone in a car this week.

The hottest temperatures of the summer are on the way. That means pet owners are fetching tricks to help their furry friends stay cool.

Seattle-based pet insurance company Trupanion said it sees more than a 333% increase for claims related to heatstroke during the summer months.

Trupanion veterinarians say heatstroke is an emergency condition. If you think your pet is experiencing it, they say move your animal to a cooler area and call your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms include:

  • Panting or drooling excessively
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dark red gums
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heart rate

Vets also say if you’re going to a dog park, pick the coolest hours of the day.

“He loves his walks but hates the heat, so we try to get there early,” said Mounivong.

Veterinarians say when temperatures rise, it’s best to limit your animal’s time outside but never leave your pet unattended in the car, even with a window cracked.

Studies show that when it’s 85 degrees outside, your car can heat up to 120 degrees inside.

“Even when the temperature outside is a comfortable 70 degrees, the inside of a car can top 100 degrees in only 30 minutes,” Trupanion said.

Law enforcement across King County isn’t mincing words when it comes to leaving dogs in hot cars.

Veterinarians also remind owners to stick to the shade when walking dogs, as pavement and sidewalks can heat up quickly on a hot day. Try walking your dog in the grass or play in the shade.

You can also protect pets’ paws with dog booties, if they tolerate footwear.

Vets also said to consider having room-temperature water with you at all times for your dog.

A cooling pet vest might be an option as well as keeping a portable misting fan with you when you’re out and about with your dog.

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