Pets can suffer in summer heat

By WLOX Staff

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi's temperatures pushing triple digits can put pets in danger. Your pet can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions are very serious and could cause your pet to die.

The Humane Society recommends you be aware of the signs of heat stress, which could include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.

At Biloxi Animal Hospital, veterinary technician Dawna White makes sure all the dogs at play have plenty of water. She says when the temperatures rise, so does the danger.

"When it gets really hot outside, little dogs are really sensitive to the heat. You know, you need to make sure they go outside to potty and go right back in to the air conditioned house. If your dog stays outside while you're at work, make sure they have a good area of shade, a good dog house where they can go into to stay cool and a lot of water," White said.

Panting is a visible sign that your pet is hot. But White says if your dog is panting very hard or lying on its side, not wanting to move, you need to get the animal inside an air conditioned area to cool down.

Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.

Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.

If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.

Animal experts also say keeping your pets fur coat trimmed and brushed is as important as keeping them hydrated. Groomers recommend bathing the animals only once every two weeks and keeping the undercoat combed out to help keep the animal cool. A think undercoats is like having a blanket on your dog.

Click here for more summer pet care tips.

Click here for disaster pet care information. You can reach the Humane Society of South Mississippi at (228) 863-4394.

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