Summertime in the City: Hot Weather Tips for Your NYC Pet

Summer Pet Care TipsYou know to prepare yourself for the dangers associated with increased temperatures. As the dog days of summer approach, however, our trusted companions also need special attention to keep them safe and healthy.

Hot Weather Safety for NYC Dogs

Here are some important tips for keeping your dog cool this summer:

Dogs can acclimate to warm temperatures and have no trouble spending time outside. However, dogs that are used to cool climates or air conditioning should not be outside for extended periods of time on hot days. Gradually acclimating your dog is the key.

Hot Weather Safety for NYC Cats

While cats in Manhattan generally stay indoors, they too can be at risk due to hotter weather. When pet parents open their windows and perhaps allow their beloved companions to sun themselves on fire escapes, balconies and terraces, there is a serious risk of High Rise Syndrome. High Rise Syndrome refers to injuries that result from falls from high places – and veterinarians see a significant increase in these cases in the summer.

To prevent your cat from suffering a potentially fatal fall-related injury, make sure there are secure screens or — better yet — bars on any open windows in your apartment. Do not let your cat venture out onto a fire escape or unsecured balcony or terrace. Unlike the bark of trees, the surfaces in these areas offer no place for a cat to cling to with their claws, increasing the chance they will lose their footing and fall.

Cats generally handle warmer temperatures better than dogs, but you should also keep watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Keep plenty of fresh, cool water available throughout your apartment. If you don't have air conditioning, consider wrapping your cat in a cool, damp towel or placing a plastic bag full of ice under their bed on extremely hot days.

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke in NYC Pets: What You Need to Know

As for you, summer in New York City brings an increased danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for dogs and cats.

Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting, or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. However, in the hotter days of summer there are times when panting won’t be enough to handle the heat building inside their bodies. Depending on your dog, heat-related problems can occur even during a walk around the block or while swimming.

Signs that your pet is overheating include excessive panting and salivation, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, glazed eyes, mild weakness, confusion, bright red or purple gums and tongue, seizures, vomiting and collapse.

If your pet's body temperature rises to 107 degrees, he or she becomes very warm to the touch and is at serious risk of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed. Pets with flat faces that can't pant as effectively, like Pugs and Persian cats, and pets that are old, obese or have health problems are the most susceptible to heat stroke.

What To Do If You Think Your Pet Has Heat Stroke

If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke, please call East Side Animal Hospital immediately. Quickly get your dog out of the sun and cool him or her down with a cool (NOT cold) water bath. Provide a fan, especially if you wet your dog down, and encourage him or her to drink water.

To cool your cat down, apply towels soaked in cool water to your cat's skin. Immersion in a cool water bath for 30 minutes may also help lower your cat's temperature. While on the way to our veterinary office in Midtown, place ice packs around your cat's head and body.

Remember, heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Preventing Heat Stroke in Your NYC Pet

You can significantly reduce or eliminate your pet's risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke by:

Summer in NYC can be a carefree, fun time you and your pet, so long as you both play it safe and keep cool. Please call our veterinary office at (212) 751-5176 if you have any questions or concerns about your pet this summer.