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How to Help Pets Beat the New York City Heat


ForumDaily New York

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New York hit by a wave of extreme heat. Gothamist explains how ultra-high temperatures affect pets and how to save your furry pets from overheating.


“My cat Hector has thick skin,” complains the cat’s owner, Maya Hibbett. - Literally. He lived on the streets of Bushwick for an unknown number of years. As my veterinarian explained, adult male cats develop a strong layer of skin if they live outside long enough without being neutered.”

“From this thick skin grows a soft, dense layer of fur. And every summer this insulated combination makes me wonder: is he sweltering from the heat?” – Maya asks.

On the subject: Six places in New York where you can swim right under a waterfall

Anxiety increases when the woman has to leave him at home alone.

Cats are not dogs: how different animals deal with overheating

Maya leaves the air conditioner on at home for her cat. If you think about it, it is irresponsible to leave an electrical appliance running. It spews heat onto city streets and puts a strain on an already strained power grid—not to mention hefty utility bills. But Lawrence Putter, a veterinarian at Lenox Hill Veterinarians, says it's necessary.

“With such embers The air conditioning must be on,” he noted.

But not all pets are created equal. So, dog owners, be careful.

“Cats are smarter than dogs,” said Dr. Nuala McDermott, cat owner and medical director of Pure Paws Hudson Square. – They tend to hide in cool places. Cats do not run around Central Park in the heat, when the temperature exceeds 29 Cº and the likelihood of heat stroke increases.”

The risk is especially high for dogs, which rely on breathing to regulate their temperature, McDermott said. They exhale hot air and then inhale hot, moist air back. This prevents the animal from cooling down from the inside.

McDermott said that a pug was brought to her appointment (just as the summer season began in the city). heat) with a body temperature above 40 Cº. This put the animal at risk of heatstroke. The veterinarians placed the pug in the shower and poured cool water over his stomach, then his back.

“If you have a power outage, cooling your dog's body temperature with a small amount of cool water, not ice, is the best first step,” advises the medical director.

Yes, dogs don't tolerate heat as well as cats, and some breeds are at higher risk. Brachycephalic dogs, or dogs with short, flattened-looking noses (such as pugs), are particularly intolerant of heat, experts say. A long muzzle is a key cooling mechanism for a dog.

How to help an animal

There are certain items you can purchase to keep your pets from overheating.
“Hank came to work today wearing a cooling vest,” McDermott points to her 10-year-old pug sprawled out on her office floor.

This is a pet clothing item made from water-repellent fabric. The owner can wet it, wring it out, and then put it on his pet to keep him cool during a walk or commute. There are also cooling pads for cats to lie on.

Veterinarians recommend keeping pets indoors and in the shade on hot days. McDermott suggested walking dogs in the morning and evening when the sun is not at its peak. She reminded pet owners about hot sidewalks and urged them to never leave pets unattended in the car.

The city has opened 16 pet-friendly cooling centers.

In a June 17 press release, the mayor's office echoed McDermott's advice.

“It is important that pets have access to clean and fresh water, and also stay cool inside,” sums up Alexandra Silver, director of the City Hall Animal Welfare Office. “We encourage people to walk their dogs early in the morning and late in the evening. Remember that animals should never be left in cars.”

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