Ways to keep your pets safe in the summer heat

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 8:44 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - With rising temperatures this summer, everyone is trying to beat the heat but don’t forget about your pets as well.

Monroe veterinarian Dr. John McClendon, owner of McClendon Veterinarian Clinic, says pet owners have to keep their pet cool, hydrated and shaded in the brutal heat.

One major problem vets face is people leaving animals in a car without keeping the air conditioning on. Within minutes of no AC, animals can suffer a heat stroke.

Dr. McClendon says heat strokes are prevalent because some people don’t provide shade when chaining them up in a backyard or they leave them in cares. If they are having a heat stroke, some signs will be heavy panting and your pet seeming unusually excited.

He advises owners to check their pet’s temperature often, and if it gets to 105 degrees, immediately call your vet.

“If you start to see some of these signs, and they’ve been out in the sun, use water, use cool water, don’t use cold water, do not use ice water, that’ll put them into shock. You want to slowly cool them down, but the best thing is to go to your veterinarian,” McClendon said.

He noted long-haired dogs, older dogs and breeds like the English bulldog are more likely to get overheated. So far this summer, he’s helped with two animals suffering heat strokes and received calls with owners worried about the possibility.

It’s important to take preventative measures like not letting your pets stay outside too long. When letting your pet out, give them the proper conditions such as a place with shade and plenty of water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are doing okay.

Dr. McClendon doesn’t let his dog lay in the sun for an hour.

When exercising with your pet, test the surface to see if it’s cool enough for an animal’s paws. If possible, avoid walking your pet on asphalt because it gets a lot hotter.

“If you can’t put your palm on the ground and keep it there for a couple of minutes, it’s too hot for the dog to walk. You need to walk them in grass or something like that. It’s not really heatstroke, but they can burn. I’ve had to treat dogs who have burned pads before just because of that,” Dr. McClendon said.

Cats can also suffer from the heat, so take the same precautions with hydration and shade if they are outside. He says if it’s too hot for you to stay outside, it’s also too hot for your pet.

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