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Arts & Life

Too Hot For Pets

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hile (Helen Penjam) [Flickr]
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Pets don't sweat to cool themselves like humans do - they pant.  And when the air temperature is high, they cannot cool their bodies enough to be safe.  It's up to you to keep your best friend comfortable and healthy in the summer heat!

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I heard a corny joke this week: “Why did the dog go under the shade tree? He didn’t want to be a hot dog!” I like corny jokes, often called “dad” jokes, but the truth is, that shade tree isn’t going to offer much protection right now. We are in the “dog days of summer”, a time when it’s so hot even dogs won’t run and play. And this year seems worse than ever, as a strong heat dome is driving temperatures higher during the hottest time of the year, with heat warnings and advisories, and predictions of triple digit heat index values.

So what can you for your pet during these “dog days of summer”? First, limit exercise – if it is hot for you, it is even hotter for your pet. Take your dog for short walks in the early morning or evening. Stick to the grassy areas and avoid asphalt or pavement, as it might burn your pet’s paws. If you’re not sure, touch the surface with the back of your hand; if you can’t hold it there for five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet.

Make sure your pet, dog or cat, has access to plenty of fresh cool water and protection from the sun. That shade tree is a good idea, but a dog house can be dangerous because there’s no airflow.

Don’t shave your dog or cat in the summer. Give your pet a good brushing but remember, their hair will help insulate them from the heat and protect from sunburn.

Know the signs of heatstroke in a pet – excessive panting, glazed eyes, uncoordinated movement, difficulty breathing are just a few indications. If you think your pet may be suffering heat stroke, move it to a shaded or air-conditioned area and call your veterinarian. Heatstroke is a medical emergency, so don’t delay. Quick action on your part may save your pet’s life.

And never, ever, leave your pet alone in a parked car, even for a few minutes, even in the shade, even with the windows cracked, even with the air conditioner running.

Keeping your best friend safe in the Summer heat is a cool thing to do for both of you, when you’re speaking of pets.

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