Petland offers friendly warning of summer danger to pets

Surviving the heat in a fur coat

Heat stroke can be a very serious issue for pets—one that owners must be aware of as the temperatures rise. Many pets enjoy riding along in the car with their owners. However, a hot summer day can spell trouble for pets, especially those left unattended in vehicles.

Every year, thousands of pets die from over-exposure to heat. It’s usually because their owners leave their pets in cars while they shop or run a quick errand,

said Darcy Howen, operator of Petland of Rockford.
It doesn’t have to be extremely hot outdoors for a pet to suffer heat stroke inside a car.

According to Petland, leaving a pet inside a closed automobile for just 10 to 20 minutes is risky on an 80-degree day as temperatures can quickly rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit—enough heat to kill a pet. Even 10 minutes inside a hot car is enough to cause exhaustive heat stroke in cats and small dogs. Rabbits, hamsters and birds have even less of a chance for survival.

An open window? No good

Leaving windows wide open in the car is not the answer. Additional dangers come with that option. Your pet may jump out of the vehicle and become a traffic casualty. Also, leaving the windows open
just a crack

isn’t enough to prevent heat stroke.

Heat stroke can be prevented quite easily if you follow one Petland rule.

We always advise leaving pets at home when running errands on warm days,

Howen said.

Pets left outdoors during periods of intense heat also are vulnerable to heat stroke. Outdoor pets always must have a supply of fresh, cool drinking water and places to rest out of direct sunlight.

Know signs of heat stroke

Heat stroke in a pet is easy to diagnose early on. Some first signs are quite visible. They include excessive panting, salivation and a racing pulse. The pet also will have a high body temperature and may vomit. In latter stages of heat stroke, the pet lapses into a coma. At this point, the pet can suffer brain damage and die.

When a pet experiences some of the warning signs of heat stroke, it may be too risky to just drive the pet to a veterinarian.

At Petland, we always advise trying to lower the pet’s body temperature on the way to the vet,

Howen said.

Ways to help in an emergency

Submerging a pet’s body in cool water or pouring cool water over its body can help. Ice packs, if available, can be used to lower body temperature, too. Pet owners also should rinse the pet’s mouth with cool water, offering ice chips or very small amounts of water to drink. It is best to keep cool water or cold packs on the heat-exhausted pet until reaching the veterinarian. The medical professional can then take a temperature reading and thoroughly examine the pet.

Petland, Inc., is a franchise operation with more than 185 quality, full-service, retail pet centers across the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Chile and South Africa. Petland is ranked among Entrepreneur magazine’s
Franchise 500.

For information about Petland, visit the company’s Web site at

from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue