Temperatures pushing 100 degrees put pets at risk for heatstroke, which can lead to brain damage -- or even death -- within 15 minutes. Limit extended sun exposure on moderate days too.
Cause for concern: If you notice uncontrollable panting, a rapid heartbeat, excessive drooling or lethargy, bring your pet into an air-conditioned room, give him a bowl of cool water, and wet his belly and inside his front and hind legs. Immediately call your vet.
To keep your pet safe: Make sure your dog's or cat's water bowl is continually refilled with cool water. Also check the water level periodically to make sure he is drinking. In addition, try to limit outdoor activities to early morning or evening hours. If he's itching to play outside at high noon, fine -- just be sure to hose him down every few minutes, or keep a kiddie pool out in the yard so he can take a dip when he's hot. (Empty out the pool every evening to avoid attracting mosquitoes.) Finally, when running errands with Rover, never leave him in the car unattended. Instead, have someone stay with him and keep the air-conditioning on. And, no, a cracked window won't keep him cool.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.