MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It seems like every year around this time we talk about heat and summer-weather safety. It's definitely something that could even make you roll your eyes as you say "there goes the weatherman (or woman here, with the new addition of Brittney!) again about the heat… same old, same old…" But the truth is, every year we see the same things: children left in cars during summer heat, people getting sick from exhaustion, and pets being left outside unattended in the sweltering sun. That last one is where we'll take today's weather blog.
It's true: some of us are warm-weather fans, while some would rather pack up and move to Colorado if given the choice. But there comes a point—a threshold if you will, when the temperature and humidity get so high that no one wants to be in it. Here in Memphis, this is about that time of year when the weather reaches that point nearly every day. As much as we can control our actions and reactions, our pets cannot and must be provided with relief, water and protection.
Never leave pets unattended in a parked car (same goes for humans!) On an 85-degree day, the inside of a car can reach 120-degrees or more. Not only uncomfortable, but downright dangerous for an animal to be in for any length of time.
Limit exercise on hot days. For dogs especially, exercise can be put aside when the temperature rises.
Watch the humidity. Here in the Mid-South, the heat is usually accompanied by the humidity. According to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly."
Provide enough water. It's easy to fill up a bowl with food and water and be done with it. But in the summer months, you must carefully watch Fido and Fluffy's bowl carefully. Dogs can lap up a bowl in just a few minutes, and need more within a few minutes more. I sometimes drop an ice cube or two in the water to refresh a bowl of room temperature water.
Remember that dogs sweat through their feet, so try to keep them on a cool surface when the house gets a little stuffy. Invest in a cheap but effective "cooling mat" for your pets. It's an easy way for them to get some relief when the indoors become too warm (sometimes in extreme heat the A/C just can't keep up).
And lastly, if there's ever a time when you think your precious animal friend is getting too hot, apply and ice pack or a cool pack to their necks, heads and bodies. Get some cool water ready, and immediately seek out a vet.
Watch for a blog from me in the coming days about more heat-weather safety- and most importantly, stay cool!