National Heat Awareness Day - Monday May 23, 2016
Photo: BeauJax Boutique
Summer is upon us and the weather will soon be heating up in many parts of the United States and in some parts, the heat will be excessive and excruciating. National Heat Awareness Day is a day sponsored by the National Weather Service to recognize the dangers of excessive summer heat.
According to reports from the Red Cross, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods in recent years. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity and can be deadly to both humans and pets.
The best way to help keep families safe this summer and to aid in preventing overheating, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, is to know how to prepare yourself, your family, pets and property for this weather extreme.
Here are some quick tips on staying cool and safe during extreme heat from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA):
- Be familiar with your local weather forecast by visiting www.weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your phone
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
- Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
Hotter weather not only affects humans, but can also be very hard on our pets. If you are planning to be out and about on hot days with your pet, here are some great infographic reminders to keep in mind before you head out.
As our dogs and cats continue to rise in importance as members of the family, families love to take them in the car for quick rides to the store or on long car trips for vacation. This has led to a need for more pet heat-related awareness in recent years.
If you are tempted to leave your dog in your car while you make a quick pit stop, keep in mind, when it’s 80 degrees outside, your car will be a staggering 114 degrees in less than 30 minutes. A barely cracked window is not going to help your dog with this kind of quick escalation in heat. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR!
Because dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people, once they overheat, they can suffer extensive organ damage or die.
Here are some things to watch for in your dog should you feel they've become excessively overheated during summer heat-related activities:
- Excessive or loud panting
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent vomiting
- A bright red tongue and pale gums
- Skin around muzzle or neck doesn't snap back when pinched
- Thick saliva
- Increased heart rate
Try these cooling treatments if necessary:
- Get to shade immediately
- Find a spot with plenty of air circulation
- Give them water a little bit at a time, not in excess
- Pour cool, (not cold), water over them
- Do not cover them with a towel or blanket
- Do not resistrict their movement or confine them - allow them free movement
- Place them in front of a cool fan or vent
- Call your veterinarian immediately if these cooling treatments do not seem to bring any relief or improve their situation
By staying aware of the dangers of excessive heat, we can educate ourselves and others and hopefully save the lives of both humans and pets this summer.
In Furry Love and Best Wishes!
Resource Credits: Visually, ASPCA, Red Cross, FEMA