Keep pets cool

Both dogs and cats are at more risk for overheating than their human counterparts. Due to their inability to sweat, it is more difficult for them to remove excess heat from their body.

Contrary to what it may seem, a temperature of 103 is only slightly elevated when it comes to checking the temperature of your cat or dog. Their normal body temperature range is from 100.5 to 102.5. When their body temperature rises to 106 or above, however, an animal may suffer brain damage from heat stroke.

Overheating can be fatal for some animals.

The following tips will help to prevent your pets from suffering heat stroke.

• For dogs housed outdoors during the day, make sure there is substantial shade available in their designated outdoor area or kennel. Water should be provided in a large container that your dog cannot accidentally tip over and dump out. Try not to leave your dog on a tie out where he or she can get so twisted up they can no longer reach the water source.


• While a daily walk with your dog provides great exercise for both of you, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid overheating. Walk your dog in the early morning or late evening — these are the coolest times of the day. Elderly dogs, overweight dogs and those with heart conditions are especially sensitive to the heat and humidity.

• If you bike or roller blade with your dog, take appropriate caution not to let your buddy overheat. Remember that you have both the easier job and the better breeze. Two other activities best avoided on hot days are heavy Frisbee or ball play. Some dogs just don’t know when to quit. Dogs can overheat even if it seems like they are having a good time.

• Most cats and dogs stay at home when their owners are at work. Make sure your pets will not overheat in your absence. Some days you may need to run the air conditioning even when you are not there.

• Although many dogs enjoy running errands with their owners, the summer can be a deadly time to do this. On an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the interior of a car to creep over 100 degrees. Elderly dogs and those with short muzzles are at even greater risk of overheating in cars.

Signs of overheating include weakness, lethargy, vomiting, intense panting, collapse, seizure, coma and even death. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if you notice any of these symptoms. If any attempt to cool is made at home, remember to do so with cool, not freezing water. Cooling the pet gradually is best.

Although swimming seems like a safe activity on hot days, do not let your dog cool off in a scummy body of stagnant water because of the potential for blue-green algae poisoning. A good rule to follow is this: If you personally would not swim in the water, do not allow your dog to do so. Avoid any body of water with algae mats floating on it, particularly in August.

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