HEAT WEATHER – They come back every year and this time, they won’t even have waited for the start of summer. A heat wave is affecting the whole country this week, after temperatures approaching 40° locally at the end of the week.
Of course, it’s important to protect yourself against these temperature peaks, but don’t forget your pets who also suffer from the heat.
Unlike humans, dogs, for example, do not sweat. They therefore have more difficulty in lowering their body temperature. “The dog is an animal that thermoregulates very badly: it has a lot of trouble evacuating heat,” explains Dominique Grandjean, the chief veterinarian of the Paris Fire Brigade, contacted by the HuffPost.
“High temperatures can cause heat stroke or permanent sequelae, and even prove fatal,” also reminds the PETA association. It is therefore important to have the right gestures so that everyone has a nice summer.
Avoid walks and exertion in the heat
No jogging in the sun at 2 p.m., it’s better for you and Fido. The 30 Million Friends Foundation veterinarians advise avoiding walks and physical exertion, such as running, in the afternoon and going outside during the cooler hours such as early morning or evening, so as not to not weaken your animal.
It is also important to always walk animals in the shade and avoid concrete. “The tar can heat up to between 55 and 80 degrees, which can seriously burn an animal’s legs and even permanently damage its pads”, also explains the PETA association. Vigilance!
Never leave an animal in a parked car
Every summer, animals are left in the heat of cars by careless owners. A dog locked in a parked car in direct sunlight can quickly die of heat stroke. “A dog can have sequelae after 12 minutes of suffocation and can die in less than an hour”, explains Professor Dominique Grandjean. The SPA advises contacting law enforcement immediately if you witness an animal locked in a car.
Rapid, gasping breathing, red eyes, vomiting, shaking, or lethargy are signs of heat stroke. In this case, the veterinarians of 30 Million Friends recommend wrapping your pet in a damp towel to bring down its body temperature and taking it to the veterinary emergency room as soon as possible.
Provide water and shade ad libitum
This is basic advice that should not be overlooked. The ideal for your pet is to have permanent access to a cool and ventilated place at home. To allow him to cool off, “the trick is to put a damp towel on a drying rack: your pet will naturally come to stand below this humid microclimate,” advises a veterinarian from the 30 Million Friends Foundation.
It is also always a good idea to wet your little companion: a small damp glove on the head and paws of cats who are not very fond of water, for example. But you can easily take out the garden hose to splash the more enthusiastic dogs.
Fountain or simple bowl, the animals need to be well hydrated with the heat wave. Always leave water available and encourage them to drink. Veterinarian Cyril Berg suggests “flavoring the water in his bowl with the juice from a can of tuna”, reports 30 Million Friends. It is also preferable to choose wet food or to moisten the kibbles.
Help wild animals too
Particularly fragile, the wild animals find themselves during these periods in water shortage, the scorching temperatures drying up the natural water reserves. You can create small water troughs for them, as shown in the video below.
Among the most vulnerable, birds and insects. The months of May and June coincide with the birth and rearing of the chicks. Besides drinking, these animals also need water to wash their feathers.
In a press release, the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) invites everyone to “install a shallow container (3-4 cm) filled with water in the shade. This will allow birds and also hedgehogs, squirrels and bees to quench their thirst.”
The association specifies that it is necessary to regularly renew the water and to clean the containers “in order to avoid the spread of diseases”. You have to be careful not to overfill them to protect the small animals from drowning.
A helping hand for our friends the bees
As for the bees, for whom this heat wave rhymes with a drop in honey production, there are several simple tips to help them stay hydrated, without putting them in danger.
“So that they don’t drown, you have to put small supports inside the container and not a lot of water. For example, a flat stone does the job very well”, explains Marc Veilly, veterinarian and secretary general of the National Order of the profession. Filling a container with water and marbles is also a good idea. A hive engulfs large amounts of water, and carriers are even assigned to support the colony. These small gestures can therefore have a real impact.
See also on The HuffPost: Passed this threshold we die of heat, here’s why