While tradition calls for fun at the 4th of July Pet Parade, the Bend weather forecast is for a high of 87 degrees on the holiday. As parade host, Bend Park & Recreation District wants parade participants' pets to remain healthy and safe in the warm temperature.
"Warm weather can bring a danger to our pets that we do not always consider. Heat strokes are a sad but common occurrence here in Central Oregon where we have numerous days above 90 degrees," said Dr. Chad Moles, DVM, of Animal Emergency Center of Central Oregon in Bend.
"Dogs' main cooling mechanism is through respiration or panting and they do not handle heat as well as humans do. Inadequate shade/cover and/or hydration on a hot day can put even the healthiest pet at risk for overheating," said Dr. Moles.
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 9:30 am; the parade starts at 10:00 am.
• Provide plenty of fresh water, available at parade staging area and en route – just look for the orange flags. Bring a water bottle for you and your pet as well.
• Allow dogs to cool off in the water pools at the staging area.
• Keep an eye on your pet's foot pads for overheating or soreness.
• 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; increased pulse/ heartbeat; barking, whining or signs of agitation; dark-colored gums or tongue; glassy eyes; elevated body temperature and staggering, weakness, collapse, seizures and/or unconsciousness.
Dr. Moles warns that obese and long-haired animals hold a greater risk to heat stroke due to added insulation. He also notes that heat strokes can commonly occur in brachycephalic dog breeds (ie. Pugs, Bulldogs, boxers, etc.) as their pug-noses offer a less efficient respiratory and cooling mechanism.
If you think your pet will be challenged by warm temperatures at the parade, BPRD and Dr. Moles encourage you to leave your pet at home and possibly bring a stuffed animal instead.
Before, during and after the parade, Dr. Moles will be on site at the staging area by the Information/First Aid booth. If you think your pet may be having a heat stroke at the parade, it is advised to move the animal to the Information Booth shaded area immediately and request assistance. If at any time you believe your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, contact your regular veterinarian or the Animal Emergency Center of Central Oregon at (541) 385-9110.
For additional information on the Pet Parade, visit www.bendparksandrec.org or call Bend Park & Recreation District at (541) 389-7275.
And when it's all done, share a few of your favorite parade pics with us via e-mail at email@example.com!