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Surf and Turf Issue

the good news As depressing as this may sound, there is good news, dear reader: all of this is completely and utterly preventable. While it may seem asinine to suggest that we as pet parents simply stop leaving our pets in hot cars, that’s pretty much exactly what it boils down to. While it’s great to be able to go about our daily life with our pets, if there’s any chance that you might have to leave your pets in the car unattended, just leave them safely at home. T h e m o s t c o m m o n counterpoint I receive to this recommendation is from people who leave their pet in their locked car briefly but run the air conditioning while they’re away. Temperature-wise, I think this is fine, but if you absolutely must leave your dog in the car, I have three further recommendations: Make sure your pet is confined either in a crate or behind a barrier so he can’t inadvertently alter the temperature or shift the car into gear. (Nobody wants to be the owner of the car being driven by a dog in the viral YouTube clip.) Make sure you have enough fuel so the air the AC is running! wag expert advice can stay cool. Prevent broken windows from well-meaning passersby by making a sign that says the AC is running. Or…leave your pet at home! why it’s worse for our pets I don’t know about you, but when I get into my car after it’s been sitting in the sun for a little while, I turn into a sweaty mess and no one wants to be near me! While it may make me unpopular, my body is doing as it knows best by getting rid of that excess heat: pushing sweat out onto my skin, which then evaporates and cools me. This is why highly humid days always feel so much hotter; the air’s already so full of water that your sweat doesn’t evaporate, so it doesn’t cool you as effectively. Now, our pets don’t sweat the way we do — their most effective heat-loss mechanism is to pant. That’s all. So imagine that you’re getting into that hot car. Now, imagine that humidity is at 100%, so your sweat has very little effect. Now put on a winter coat. That’s almost as hot as it would feel to your pet, waiting for you in a hot car. A dog’s normal body temperature runs at around 99.5° to 102.5°. Temperatures of 103.5° are fairly reliably labeled as “feverish.” At more than 106°, organ failure starts to occur and permanent organ damage or death can occur in minutes. Heavy panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, vomiting and/ or diarrhea, staggering and lethargy are all signs of heat stroke. Pets displaying any of these symptoms need immediate veterinary care. The rapidity with which hyperthermia can occur is terrifying. commit to keep cool Let’s face it — none of us is perfect. (People seem to go out of their way to point that out about me, specifically!) But we can be better. And for our pets, we have to be our best. That means taking responsibility for every aspect of their lives that we have control over — locking away any poisons or toxins in the house, providing balanced nutrition and appropriate exercise, and yes, making sure we’re always thinking of their health and welfare, even as we go about our busy lives. Next time you get into a car and the sweat pops out of your pores, just think about how faithfully your pet is waiting. At home. the surf & turf issue 57


Surf and Turf Issue
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