Pets need care as hot weather lingers

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 16, 2002

While summer may seem over for those getting back into theschool routine, pet owners are reminded that the hot weatheraccompanying summer will still linger for the next few months.

“Summer’s not over yet, we’ve still got August and September togo,” said Dr. William Kimble, a Brookhaven veterinarian. “We have alot of hot weather left.”

Animals that tend to suffer the most from heat are dogs, withcases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, said Kimble.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

He explained that dogs do not sweat, so they must cool off inother ways. Dogs get rid of extra body heat through theirrespiratory system by panting.

“People don’t realize how hot a dog can get just from playingfetch. Dogs need time to cool down,” he said.

In order to prevent such severe reactions to the risingthermometer, pet owners should be sure to observe pets closely,making sure they have adequate water supply and shade.

“Pets are prone to heat stroke if we don’t take care of themproperly,” said Kimble.

One of the most common ways for pets to be threatened by theheat is when they are left unattended in vehicles, even when thetemperature outside does not seem too hot for humans.

“On a day when the temperature is 80 degrees, the inside of acar can easily reach 130 degrees and leaving a crack in the windowisn’t going to stop that,” said Kimble.

Also after taking dogs on outings at lakes, bonds, creeks andrivers, pet owners should allow the dogs to dry thoroughly. Ownersoften endanger dogs by putting them in pet carriers or other small,confined areas while they are still wet.

“It’s just like putting your dog in a sauna,” said Kimble.

Symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include excessivepanting; bright red, rather than a pink color inside ears;unconsciousness and staggering.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if anyof those signs are noticed because heat exhaustion and heat strokeare considered veterinary emergencies.

Kimble also suggested allowing animal to ride in an airconditioned vehicle or with the windows down on the way to thevet’s office.

Most importantly, pet owners should not make the common mistakeof putting wet towels around the animal or putting them in coldwater, which constricts the blood vessels.

Instead, pet owners can put the animal in luke warm water, thenuse fans to evaporate the water from the pet’s skin.