Be aware of summer heat risks for pets


Fort Irwin is located in the Mojave Desert and it gets extremely hot during the summer months. As it gets hotter, pets are affected by the heat just as humans are.  Pet owners need to consider ways to keep pets healthy and safe from the heat.

Pets can get sunburn, heat stroke, and first-degree burns from what may seem like a fun trip to the park. It is always best to take precautions to protect them from these possibilities.

Please always remember if it is too hot for you to go outside, then it is even hotter for your pet. Unlike humans, who sweat over much of their body surface to cool down, dogs pant, which evaporates water and cools the surface of their tongue and lungs. This is much less efficient than sweating, so dogs have a harder time regulating their temperature. Below are some tips on how to keep your pet safe this summer.

• Never leave your dog in the car

• Always provide unlimited water

• Take walks during the cooler hours and always avoid hot surfaces

• Use a set of dog paw protectors when walking or hiking

• Always provide access to shade when outside

• Apply pet-safe sunscreen to pets with a thin coat

• Watch for signs of heat stroke, such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, profuse salivation, deep red or purple tongue, and lethargy

Even after sunset, asphalt and concrete sidewalks will retain hot summer heat, so it is important to check the temperature of these surfaces before allowing access to your pet. There can be large differences between air temperature and the temperature of asphalt. For example, at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, asphalt temperatures can reach as high as 125 degrees. At an air temperature of 87 degrees, the asphalt can measure up to 143 degrees. That’s hot enough to destroy skin within 60 seconds.

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