2013-07-25 / Outdoors

Protect pets in warm temps

State vet offers tips to keep animals cool

LANSING – With summer temperatures already breaking well-over 85 degrees, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill offers a few tips to keep your furry, four-legged family members cool and healthy this summer.

“Our cats, dogs and other companion animals can be just as uncomfortable in the heat and humidity as we are and can quickly become dangerously overheated,” said Averill. “Pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration, and even sunburn. So it’s critical you use sound, common sense practices like not leaving your pet in a car. Even if you park it in the shade and have the windows partially open, it only takes a few minutes for temperatures inside the car to reach deadly levels.”

While all dogs and cats are at risk, older or very young pets, overweight pets, those with heavy coats, and short-nosed dogs may need extra care. Owners need to limit their exercise to early morning and evening on hot and humid days as asphalt becomes very hot and can burn their paws, keep the water bowl refreshed, and be sure cooling shade is always nearby.

If your pet is panting excessively or has difficulty breathing, has an increased heart and respiratory rate, drools excessively or uncharacteristically, has difficulty walking, appears weak, in a stupor or is vomiting, immediately place your pet in the shade or air conditioning and apply cool - not cold - water to reduce the animal’s core body temperature and, if available, place a fan on them. At the same time, seek help from a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.

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