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How Cars Kill Dogs…in the Heat

dogs hot in cars

As we all know, Albuquerque summers get HOT. But often we don’t think about hot hot our cars get until we are getting in them after they have been sitting in the sun. You open your door and that heat wave hits you in the face. The seat burns your legs when you try to sit down. Getting in the car becomes a race to turn on the air conditioning.  Just like we don’t think about the heat for us getting in the car, we often don’t think about it for our dogs either.

Petplan.com put together this great infographic on how hot the inside of your car gets compared to the outside temperature.

dogs hot in cars

What is even more astonishing than the vast difference between inside and outside temperatures is how quickly it gets that hot. Within a few minutes, during our Summer heat, your car will be above 100 degrees F.

A lot of people think that cracking a window will make a difference and keep their pets cool enough. It does not. Studies have shown that cracking a window has very little effect on lowering the inside temperature of the car.

Though New Mexico doesn’t have any laws that prohibit you from leaving your dog in a car, it is a VERY BAD IDEA!  Depending on the temperatures, a dog can suffer from brain damage or even die from heatstroke within 15 minutes.

If you can’t take your dog out of the car with you EVERY time you get out, then better leave them at home.

If you think your dog is having heatstroke, get them out of the heat immediately and call your vet.

Hot Temperatures Kill Pets

dogs heat albuquerque

dogs heat albuquerqueWe had a nice break from the heat last week with a couple days of rain. I know all the plant, people, and pets are happy about the precipitation. However, our break from the heat is short lived. This week will be in the high 90’s and may even hit 100 by the end of the week. This means you need to take extra precautions to help keep your pets cool.

Pet Heat Safety Tips

  1. Bring your pet in for their annual checkup. A lot of older pets struggle in the heat. When you get your checkup you should ask your vet about how long your pet can safely stay outside and if they have any medical conditions that may make them more sensitive to the heat.
  2. LOTS OF WATER! Make sure you pets have a lot of fresh clean water available to them. Without sufficient water they are at risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Giving them cool clean water will help them stay cool in the heat. Make sure to put the water in the shade, otherwise the sun will heat it up. Even if you dog is only going to be out for a few minutes, it is a good idea to set water outside.
  3. Shade: If you have to leave your pet outside, give them some place shady to go to escape the heat. Thankfully, in New Mexico, you can feel a real temperature drop in the shade, so having a shady place to go can be a real heat escape.
  4. Fans: If your dog has a dog house, consider installing a fan. Even though it is shady inside the dog house, because it is enclosed, that inside can get awfully hot. Putting a fan in the corner can help circulate the air and cool it down a bit.
  5. Keep them inside: You should only leave your pets outside when you are home. That way if they get too hot they can let you know they want back inside. During the heat of the day, it is best to leave them inside where they can stay cool.
  6. Haircut: If you have a longer hair dog or cat, consider getting them a haircut. A nice trim can make them a lot cooler, temperature wise. Even if you dog is short hair consider shaving their heat trapping areas. Groomers know the spots to shave to help your pets cool down faster, ask your groomer what can help keep your pet cool. Also keep in mind, that shaving targeted areas can be better than shaving your whole pet. A pets hair also acts as a heat shield.
  7. Stay away from asphalt. Asphalt and cement get super hot when left to bake in the sun. Not only can it heat up your dog, but it can also burn the pads of his feet.

If you are worried that your dog has heatstroke, call your vet immediately and get them out of the sun.

Ehrlichiosis: A Dangerous Tick Disease

Ehrlichia tick disease

Ehrlichia tick diseaseIt is summer and you are likely outside a lot more, and so is your dog and possibly your cat. This means that your dog or cat is at a much higher likelihood of getting ticks. Beyond being gross, ticks also carry disease such as Ehrlichiosis. Yes, this is a tick disease that affects both dogs and cats.

Ehrlichiosis is a disease spread by ticks that cause some very serious issues. It can take 2-4 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick to start seeing signs of infection. Your dog may get a fever, loss of appetitive, and lethargy. It can cause thrombocytopenia which means your dog doesn’t have enough platelets in his blood. This means he can have bleeding into his body tissue, bruising, his blood will clot more slowly. This disease can cause bone marrow suppression as well.

Dogs with ehrlichiosis can develop an acute infection that starts with fever, appetite loss and lethargy. Two to four weeks after experiencing the bite of an infected tick, a subclinical infection can set in, causing thrombocytopenia. That $5 word means that the dog doesn’t have enough platelets in his blood. When that happens, he can experience bleeding into body tissues (known as petechiae) and bruising. His blood may clot more slowly than normal after an injury. Bone marrow suppression can result from chronic Ehrlichia spp. (the “spp.” refers to all species of this type of bacteria) infection. It can appear months to years after a tick bite.

Cats with ehrlichiosis have many of the same signs as dogs, but they may also have weight loss, joint pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How you get infected with Ehrlichiosis

Dogs and cats get infected with Ehrlichia by being bitten by an infected tick. The tick does not need to be on your pet for very long to infect them. In as few as 3-6 hours your pet could contract the disease from a tick.

Dogs (and cats) become infected with Ehrlichia spp. when infected ticks feed on them, injecting the bacteria into their blood by deeply burying their mouthparts into the skin. Nasty!

Treatment

Once your pet has been diagnosed, which is done through a blood test, with Ehrlichia they can be treated with antibiotics. In sever cases they may need blood transfusions. Thankfully dogs and cats respond quickly to treatment, even if your pet has had it for a long time. Your vet will likely want to do follow up blood work 3 to 6 months after the initial treatment.

The good thing is that pets cannot spread the disease to humans.

 

Prevention is the best treatment, because even though the disease can be treated with antibiotics, depending on the complications your pet had from the disease, you may have some other long term issues to deal with.  It is easy to keep ticks off your cat or dog with Frontline flea and tick treatment. It is a once a month topical treatment that goes on the back of their neck. It will kill any existing fleas or ticks, including their eggs, as well as prevent any from getting on your pet. Albuquerque has both fleas and ticks and these can be a big problem and cause a lot of health issues in your pet. Make sure to drop by Albuquerque Vetco to stock up on your Frontline Flea and Tick prevention.

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Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.