Keep your pets safe in the summer heat

Here are some tips on keeping your pets healthy during the hot summer months.

Keep plenty of water on hand at all times. Whether indoors or out, your pet needs access to lots of fresh water, so check the water bowl several times a day to be sure it is full.

Never leave your pet in the car. The temperature inside your car can rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body. If you need to run errands, leave the furry ones at home.

Never travel with your pet in the bed of a pickup truck. The sun bears down and the heat of the metal floor can burn them.

Bring them inside. Animals should not be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your pets in the backyard, keep a close eye on them and bring them in when you can.

Make sure your pet does not get overexerted. Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight, which helps her body stay cool, overdoing it can cause them to overheat. Limit exercise to the early morning or late evening hours.

Be aware of pets with special needs. Elderly, very young, and ill animals have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer days. Dogs with snub noses, such as Pekingese, pugs, and English bulldogs, have a hard time staying cool because they cannot pant efficiently, so they also need to stay out of the heat. Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities.

Watch out for antifreeze. Hot weather may tempt your pet to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it is extremely toxic. When you are walking your pet, make sure she does not sneak a drink from the street.

Keep an eye out for heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, get the animal into air conditioning or shade immediately. Have someone call a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, lower the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after only a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. With this in mind, remember that it is imperative to get the animal to a veterinarian immediately.
Common signs of Heatstroke are panting, anxious expression, refusal to obey commands, rapid heartbeat, high fever, vomiting, warm, dry skin, and collapse.

With all these tips in mind, have a great summer!

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