Keeping pets cool in summer

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jim Martin of Brookhaven and his yellow lab Tiny go runningevery evening between the end of October and the beginning ofJune.

“After that I don’t do that to him,” he said. “It’s too hot andhumid in the summer. Maybe he could handle it, but I don’t want totest it. That’s my buddy.”

Martin said he also lets Tiny spend more time in the houseduring the summer, since the oppressive heat can make himlistless.

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“He just acts like all he wants to do is drink water and sleepwhen he stays outside all day,” he said. “I guess I would too,though.”

Brookhaven’s Dinki Davis has cats … lots of them, 38, to beexact. And she said she doesn’t change up a lot for her fur babies,but she does make sure they’re able to escape the heat when themercury starts rising.

“I just make sure they have fresh cool water and I have mineunder a portable carport with fans blowing on them,” she said.”Some folks say I’m crazy but, I can’t stand to think about thembeing so hot!”

Experts advise that plenty of water is a must for pets in thesummer time.

“You have to make sure they have plenty of shade and water,”said veterinarian Dr. Mike Gowan. “That’s the big thing.”

Gowan said it’s important to keep your eye on your pets’ water,too, because sometimes it can get knocked over on accident.

“Especially with young active dogs, they’ll be playing andthey’ll knock it over, so they can’t get to the fresh water,” hesaid. “So it’s a good idea to have it secured.”

And in a case like Martin’s, Gowan said it helps to carry somewater for a pet who is exercising with his owner.

Another important thing to consider is traveling with your pet,Gowan said.

“During Katrina, people were traveling and traffic was at astandstill, and we actually saw pets who overheated, even withpeople in the car,” he said.

It doesn’t take a lot to keep pets safe and cool, and Davismight just have the right idea, Gowan said.

“Typically as long as they have some shade and water, they’ll doOK,” he said. “They just need free access to water and shade.”

He pointed out that some dog owners provide their outside petswith shade by putting a tarp over the fence on their dog runs, orputting a plastic swimming pool in the pen with them.

“Some people even have fans or ceiling fans in there,” hesaid.

Some signs of an animal suffering from heat-related problems areexcessive panting, an increase in body temperature, restlessness,thick saliva and bloodshot eyes.

Veterinarians say animals should be rushed immediately to thenearest animal care facility when heat exhaustion is suspected.