July 4, 2014

Keeping your pet safe in the hot summer

As the summer temperatures continue to rise so does the risks endangering the health of pets.

As the summer temperatures continue to rise so does the risks endangering the health of pets.

Dr. Dwight Thomas of Thomas Animal Hospital in Mount Vernon, Ill., says the most important tip for pet owners who have animals exposed to heat is to give them plenty of water and keep them out of direct sunlight.

“If an animal is kept in a pen there needs to be some sort of a cover or shelter from the sunlight,” Thomas said.

Over-heating in animals can cause a health risk and can easily happen, especially if the animal is left unattended in a vehicle.

According to the Humane Society website, on an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.

“The first sign of over-heating in dogs is excessive panting,” Thomas said. “Dogs don’t perspire like humans and that is the only way they can get rid of body heat.”

Some of the signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

“If an animal is suffering from a heat stroke, first thing you need to do is get it out of the heat and inside,” Thomas said. “Put the animal into a tub filled with room temperature water and get it cooled down very slowly.”

Thomas said a lot of people think that animals are more resilient when it comes to heat and other weather-related conditions, but that is not the case.

He urges pet owners to go the extra mile for their animals that are exposed to the summer weather.

“Check on your outside animals two to three times a day and to always make sure they have plenty of water and shade,” Thomas said.

Also, t he hospital staff recommends to try and avoid taking pets on walks during the heat of the day.

Instead, take pets out in the early morning or in the evening time. Not only will the temperatures not be as high but the sidewalks won’t be as hot for the pet’s paws.

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