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Animals Best Friends: Pets need water and cool conditions

Gisele Gamble Special to The Examiner

It’s summer, and we all know that brings hot weather. Hot weather means we need to be constantly monitoring our pets.

Dogs and cats can quickly suffer from heat exhaustion before we have a clue as to what is going on. Animals tolerate pain much better than we do. By the time they exhibit a sign of distress it may be too late to save them. This is the reason we need to be vigilant.

Excessive heat and humidity will cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke if an animal is left in those conditions too long.

One can take several precautions to keep their pets safe from heat stroke:

• Keep your pets inside during hot weather. If pets have to be outside, be sure they are in a shady spot where they can get fresh air.

• Pets should have plenty of cool clean water to drink.

• Never leave a pet unattended in a car unless the air conditioning is left on. It is best to leave pets at home on hot days.

• Walk your dogs in the early morning or evening when it is cooler.

Watch for these signs of heat exhaustion:

• Excessive panting or drooling.

• Reddening of the gums.

• Rapid or irregular heart rate.

• Loss of coordination and muscle tremors.

• Respiratory distress.

• Vomiting or passing blood.

Senior animals and animals with brachycephalic airways can get hot quicker than younger animals and ones with longer snouts. These animals such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats struggle to breathe in the humidity and heat. Obese animals also struggle in the heat. These types of animals definitely need strict supervision during hot weather.

If you suspect heat exhaustion or heat stroke is occurring in your animal, wrap it in a cool, wet towel. Give it cool water if it will drink. Then get it to your vet or the animal ER as soon as possible.

Prevention is the best way to go. Please keep your animals in a cool, comfortable environment. Make sure they have plenty of clean, cool water to keep them hydrated. Our pets are family, and we need to treat them as such.