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Tips for Pet Safety in Warm Temperatures at 4th of July Pet Parade

July 1, 2015

While tradition calls for fun at the 4th of July Pet Parade, precautions are necessary in temperatures forecasted to be over 90 degrees on the holiday. The parade host Bend Park & Recreation District and the Humane Society of Central Oregon want parade participants’ pets to remain healthy and safe in the warm temperature. Be prepared to adapt your parade plans. Some considerations include bringing a stuffed animal instead, using a wagon to pull your pet or, if needed, leaving the parade route if your pet demonstrates intolerance towards the heat.

“Warm weather can bring a danger to our pets that we do not always consider. Heat strokes are a common occurrence here in Central Oregon where we have numerous days above 90 degrees,” said Dr. Chad Moles, DVM, of Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic in Bend.

“Dogs’ main cooling mechanism is through respiration/panting and they do not handle heat as well as humans do.  Inadequate shade and/or hydration on a hot day can put even the healthiest pet at risk for overheating,” said Dr. Moles. Senior, obese, short muzzled dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, etc.) and long-haired breeds are discouraged in extreme heat.

Another concern in high temperatures is hot asphalt which can cause damage to paw pads. A recent asphalt temperature was 140 degrees with ambient temperature of 86 degrees.

Tips for keeping your pet comfortable at the Pet Parade include:

  • Before and after the parade, find a cool, shaded place to rest.
  • Do not arrive too early: staging begins at 9:00 am; the parade starts at 10:00 am.
  • Bring plenty of cool water for you and your pet. Water will be available at parade staging area and en route – just look for the orange flags.
  • Allow dogs to cool off in the water pools at the staging area.
  • Consider using booties to prevent paw injuries and tar from adhering to paw pads.
  • Get creative and place your pet in a shaded, decorated stroller or wagon to keep them off of the hot asphalt.
  • Watch for signs of your pet’s paw pads overheating or soreness – picking-up paws, seeking shade and avoiding walking by sitting or lying down.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car, not even for a minute.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat stroke: Faster, heavier panting; excessive thirst and/or drooling with hanging strands of saliva; whining or signs of agitation; decreased responsiveness; glassy eyes; increased pulse/ heartbeat; elevated body temperature and staggering, weakness, collapse, seizures and/or unconsciousness.
  • If your pet shows heat-related symptoms, immediately go to the First Aid booth at the staging area, a nearby shaded area or a dog-friendly business that may let your dog cool in the air conditioned store so you can assess your pet’s condition. Before, during and after the parade, Dr. Moles will be on site at the Information/First Aid booth and available to assist pets.

If you think your pet will be challenged by warm temperatures, BPRD and the Humane Society of Central Oregon encourage you to leave your pet at home.

Should you need any emergency veterinary services over the holiday weekend, the Animal Emergency of Central Oregon in Bend will be open 24 hours a day from 5:00 pm on Friday, July 3rd to 8:00 am on Monday, July 6th. The clinic’s phone number is (541) 385-9110.

For additional information on the Pet Parade, visit www.bendparksandrec.org or call Bend Park & Recreation District at (541) 389-7275.