The climate makes summer walking always a risk in Worcester. It’s going to get worse.


WORCESTER – Dogs love to walk around. And we like it too. at least when the weather is good

But as the climate crisis changes, the summers in Worcester for the rest of our lives will heat up every year. There will be days that are good for us and for them are different. Or you and your dog will both be hot. But you may not know that they are in the danger zone.

Forecasts call for warmer days next week. Temperatures are expected to hover near 90 degrees on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

That level of heat can be a health hazard for an active dog.

This year is expected to have twice as many hot days as usual. During a typical summer three decades ago, Worcester would surpass the 90-degree heat index threshold for about seven days, according to an analysis of First Street data.

This year, it is estimated that for about 16 days it will reach or exceed 90 local heat index.

and in our region number of days in summer with conditions The “hot corridor” for dog paws has been steadily increasing since the 1970s due to global warming. Climate Central experts say

Your heat experience may differ from your dog’s.

Hoselito “Oli” Rapi’s dog Bella hides under a chair at Beaver Brook dog park.

Elizabeth Rozanski, associate professor of emergency and critical care at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, said: “You have to be very careful when walking your dog when it’s hot outside.”

Dogs should be especially careful as the climate crisis is causing global warming. This creates a dangerous risk when pets are outdoors in the summer. Dogs emit excess heat differently than humans do.

Cats are not immune to the risk, but Rozanski noted that they are generally smart enough to stop exercising when they get too hot. That doesn’t mean the dog is dumb. It’s just that some dog breeds like to play outside and have trouble turning off the power switch when they get too hot.

Rozanski warns against leaving your pet in a hot car on a very hot day. Because the inside will feel like in the oven. And make sure they always have plenty of water to drink. There is also a shade to escape the heat as well.

This advice is for dog and cat owners in Worcester to keep in mind, as New England’s second-largest city could face even more intense heatwaves in the coming years.

thirty years ago The chance of Worcester experiencing three days of 93-degree temperatures or extreme heat is 18%, according to First Street. This year, the chance is 48% and it could reach 80% three decades from now.

The pavement can feel like a hot pan.

Otis, an American Staffordshire Terrier, jumps as he and his owner Emely Henriquez take a walk in Beaver Brook Park recently.

It was a sunny day in the 60s, perfect for going out.

Henriquez worries about taking Otis out for a walk in the hot sun. Because his paws may rub against each other on the sidewalk.

While you're walking your dog in sneakers in the summer.  Your pet's paws could burn.  The climate crisis makes it more likely.

As you walk in sneakers in the summer. Your pet’s paws could burn. The climate crisis makes it more likely.

That’s a concern because asphalt surfaces can reach 125 degrees in direct sunlight when air temperatures reach 77 degrees, according to Climate Central, an independent nonprofit that researches climate change and its impact on climate change. how people live

When sidewalks and roads are hot Human skin and a dog’s unprotected paws can burn.


numbers don’t lie

for pets suffering from heat illness Happens annually in the Worcester area.

Rozanski has spent the past 20 years working in emergency medicine at the Small Animal Foster Hospital at Tufts, where staff report up to five cases of severe heat stroke a year, along with countless mild to moderate heat strokes.

for the severity of heat affecting pets Physical effects are not much different from humans, Rozanski said. Weakness and dehydration are accompanied by intestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. And then the coronary arteries will fail. Blood pressure drops to dangerous levels and severe shock occurs.

Death is a possible outcome.

cool down

Hoselito “Oli” Rapi from Worcester enjoying Beaver Brook Park with his dogs Bella and Pano Celo and his departed dog Leo.

The key point, Rozanski says, is to remember that people and their pets take time to adjust to the dog days in the summer. Especially in New England, which has four seasons, so when the extreme heat comes, Our bodies – and our pets – take time to adjust.

The bottom line for Rozanski: Keeping pets safe during a heat wave is no easy feat.

“Most of these things are common sense. If you’re hot, your dog’s hot too,” she said, adding that dark-haired dogs retain heat well. Short-nosed breeds, such as French bulldogs, usually have difficulty breathing in extremely hot weather.

According to Climate Central, “A study of canine veterinary records in the UK found that physical activity triggered nearly three-quarters (74.2%) of heat-related diseases, compared to 5% caused by confinement to the UK.” older vehicles And flat-faced dogs (brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs, shih tzu and pugs) are at higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses simply by sitting outside in hot weather.”

Other risk factors for heat stroke in dogs include:

  • Are large breed dogs (greater than 33 pounds).

  • being overweight regardless of breed

  • Lack of acclimatization to hot or humid climates

  • lack of fitness

  • Some large breeds are more susceptible, such as Golden and Labrador Retrievers. and military or working dogs such as Belgian or German Shepherds.

In the region around Worcester, the number of days every summer that are dangerous to our dogs has been increasing steadily since the 1970s due to the climate crisis.

In the region around Worcester, the number of days every summer that are dangerous to our dogs has been increasing steadily since the 1970s due to the climate crisis.

wiggling tongue

While Otis was enjoying a day outside in sub-70 degrees, his tongue finally started to hang. It’s a common sight in the dog world. This is because dogs let their tongue hang while panting to regulate their body temperature.

Another way to accomplish this is to hide under a chair for some shade. That’s what Bella, an 8-month-old Labradoodle, does at Beaver Brook Dog Park.

Bella’s friend, a 2-year-old Goldendoodle named Leo, wasn’t looking for shade. But his energy level dropped as the barking ended and he sat quietly. Next to its owner, Pano Celo.

Zelo knows how to keep Leo cool on a hot day. He wets his four-legged friends with cold water before they go for a walk. But if the temperature rises to the ’90s, Celo says he takes the dog outside long enough to go to the bathroom. “Then let’s go back inside,” he said.

Henriquez knows what she will do when the nearly 90-degree heat is expected to hit Worcester in a few days.

“Take a walk in the evening when it’s cold,” she says.

Telegram & Gazette are examining the impact of a rapidly warming world on the people living in our cities. Watch “City on Fire” as we report on the struggle with summer temperatures. even in New England This is part of USA TODAY’s Perilous Course project. Contact reporter Henry Schwan to include a story if you’re affected by heat: the cost of air conditioning or lack of air conditioning. health risks less access to green space Concerns about pets and animals in summer Worried about the elderly, loved ones, etc.

We present a Spanish version of this graphic on the health risks of dogs during the summer in Worcester.

We present a Spanish version of this graphic on the health risks of dogs during the summer in Worcester.

Contact Henry Schwan at h[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @henrytelegram.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: When It’s Too Hot to Take Your Dog for a Summer Walk in Massachusetts.

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