As much as we love the summertime most of us do not like the extreme heat and humidity. This also goes for our pets. However it is much harder on them because they cannot perspire like we do.

The severe heat can dehydrate pets quickly. They need to have access to plenty of fresh, clean water and either be indoors in a cool place or have a shady, cool place to lie out of doors. It is wise to keep your pet's activity to a minimum during hot weather as they can succumb to heat stroke. What do you know about heat stroke in pets? Watch for these signs: Excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, increased heart and respiratory rate, and even stupor or collapse. These symptoms can also include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures.

Dogs and cats average body temperatures range from 100 to 102 degrees. Take your pet to the nearest animal hospital if your dog's temperature is 104 or higher, or if your cat's temperature is 103 or higher.

If your pet has a flat face you need to take extra precautions. Pets with flat faces like Pugs, Persian cats, and even Boxers, cannot pant effectively during hot weather and need to be kept inside and kept cool.

Elderly pets also need extra attention, especially those with heart or lung disease. They should be kept inside where they can be comfortable and cool.

Taking your pet with you to the store or pharmacy may end up being a one way trip for them. Cars become ovens in the summertime. On a 90 degree day the temperature in a parked car can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 20 minutes. This is a death trap for any animal. Never ever leave your pet in an automobile when it is hot.

If you have a pool at home, it is wise not to leave pets unsupervised. Believe it or not, all dogs are not good swimmers. Be sure you introduce your pets to water gradually and stay with them when they are in the pool.

A summer hair cut is always a treat for a long haired dog, but it isn't wise to completely shave them. Dogs have several layers of fur that are there to protect them from overheating and sunburn. Cats should be brushed often to help keep them comfortable.

Remember when you were little and you ran barefoot on a hot sidewalk? Well, that is how it feels to a dog as well. Dog's feet can become burned from walking on hot pavement. Wait and walk your pet during the early morning hours or late evening hours when things have cooled off and the pavement isn't searing hot.

Most of these tips are common sense, but it never hurts to be reminded that we need to consider our pets during hot weather. If we love them we will take the time to be sure they are safe, comfortable and happy.


Animals Best Friends wish list includes: Purina Dog, Puppy, Cat and Kitten chow, dog and cat treats and chews, cow hooves or rawhides, canned dog and cat food, stuffed (no beads) and Kong toys, laundry detergent, bleach, Fantastic spray, Dawn dish liquid, paper towels, newspapers, 39 gallon trash bags, blankets, sheets, cat litter. There is a paper recycling bin in the parking lot at ABF Headquarters, 2302 S. Crysler Ave., Independence. Please, no cardboard or telephone books. We appreciate your support.