AC Pup: Keep pets safe from heat stroke even as summer sizzles

This summer has been brutal. The heat and humidity are almost unbearable.

I don’t do well in this summer heat, and neither do most pets. In fact, the summer heat may not only be uncomfortable, but it also can be deadly.

It’s very important to take extra measures even more than you usually do for your fur babies. So I want to share some tips with you to keep everybody safe until the temperature becomes more tolerable.

First of all, if there is any way you can keep your pets inside the house, please do. I know many people have multiple pets, making it challenging to get everybody inside. But if you can keep them in the air-conditioned climate, that would be great.

If it’s not possible to bring them inside, the next best thing is to find a very shady spot inside a fenced area for your pet. Place a nice house to protect him from the burning sun and summer thunderstorms.

Then provide plenty of fresh water to drink. The water needs to be freshened morning and night, but please do not use ice water. That could have a very bad effect on some animals.

A pool of water for him to get in would be wonderful. The small pools designed for children are perfect for pets to enjoy when they get too hot. This water also needs to be changed daily.

Just as a reminder: All standing water should be changed regularly since it’s such an attraction to mosquitoes. We sure don’t want to attract any more of those aggravating pests. They transmit deadly heartworms and are a menace to pets.

One important factor to watch for in Middle Georgia is humidity. As if the soaring temperatures were not a danger enough, the humidity in our area is practically intolerable.

Dr. Barry Kellogg, a veterinarian, said, “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels -- very quickly.”

The normal temperature for dogs is between 101 and 102.5 degrees. The normal temperature for cats is between 100.4 and 102.5.

If you can’t keep your pets inside, please watch them for distress when the humidity is high. Some people recommend monitoring your pet’s temperature. I can tell you from personal experience, though, no pet likes having his temperature taken. I think there are just some areas that should remain private and not probed. But that’s just me.

Always keep alert for signs of heat stroke. Very old, very young and overweight pets may be susceptible to heat stroke. Symptoms to watch for include heavy panting, glazed eyes, profuse salivation, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, vomiting and lack of coordination.

If you think your pet is suffering from a heat stroke, please act quickly. Move him into an air-conditioned area and place cold towels around him. Take him to the vet immediately.

The short-muzzled dogs are more prone to have breathing problems in extreme heat. These would be dogs like English bulldogs, Pekingese, boxers, pugs and others. If you have a dog with a short muzzle, please take extra care.

Limit your pets exercise and activity during the summer. And for Pete’s sake, never take your pet with you in the car to run errands during the season. Just a few moments in a parked car in this heat can be fatal.

The Georgia summer heat is pretty unforgiving. But we can take measures to make sure everyone stays safe. Please protect your pets from the summer heat. They’re counting on you.

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