How to protect your pets in the heat

WTNH photo

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – As the weather gets warmer, people and their pets spend more time outside. In the hot summer months, pets are affected by the heat just like we are.

Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are old, overweight or have heart or respiratory disease. The ASPCA says animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are most at risk for heat stroke because they can’t pant as effectively as other pets.

According to The Red Cross, if you suspect your pet has heat stroke, you should do the following:

1. Get your dog out of direct heat.
2. Check for shock. Signs include: collapse, body temperature 104° F+, bloody diarrhea or vomit, depression stupor, seizures or coma, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, salivation.
3. Take your dog’s temperature.
4. Spray your dog with cool water then retake temperature.
5. Place water-soaked towels on the dog’s head, neck feet, chest and abdomen, turn on a fan and point it in your dog’s direction, rub Isopropyl alcohol (70%) on the dog’s foot pads to help cool him but don’t use large quantities.
6. Take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital.

There are several precautions pet owners can take to keep them safe in the extreme heat. For starters, never leave your pet in a hot car. The Humane Society says the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even if you’re parked in the shade.

Make sure your pet has plenty of water and shade all day long. A dog house does not provide relief from the heat; the Humane Society says it actually makes it worse.

If you take them for a walk, keep in mind that asphalt can reach temps hot enough to cause permanent damage to their paws. It’s best to take walks early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.

You can also help cool them down by hosing them down with cool water.

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