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Keep your pets safe during hot summer days

As temperatures rise this summer, it’s important to remember that heat and humidity can be dangerous for our pets. They can succumb to heat stroke, dehydration, and even get sunburned — all of which can be prevented. Follow these tips to keep your pets safe:

  • On hot days, leave your pet inside with the air conditioning on. If your dog must be left outside, leave him in the shade with plenty of water.
  • Ensure that your pet always has access to cold water in a tip-proof bowl. In addition, you can:
    • Fill a kiddie pool with cool water for pets when they're outdoors
    • Provide ice cubes for your pets to chew on
    • Give frozen “Kongsicles” (a Kong stuffed with canned food and then frozen) or frozen food patties
    • Wrap ice in bandanas and put it around their necks
    • Wet down and freeze towels to give them something cool to lie on
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Cracked windows won’t protect your pet from overheating or suffering heat stroke on hot days.
  • Limit exercise to morning or evening hours. Take extra care with older pets, overweight pets, and short-nosed dogs.
  • Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. If the ground is too hot for you to comfortably go barefoot, it's too hot for your dog.
  • Keep your pet well groomed. A matted coat traps in heat. Resist the temptation to shave off your pet’s hair in an effort to keep him cool. Your pet’s coat will protect him from getting sunburned.

Signs of heat stroke include: excessive panting or drooling, anxious or staring expression, fast pulse rate and high body temperature. These symptoms can lead to vomiting, staggering gait, non-responsiveness, and collapse. As soon as you see any of these signs, put cool water on their legs (running water or by standing in a kiddie pool) which will slowly and safely lower their body temperature. Avoid covering their whole body in really cold water which can actually cause additional problems. Then get your pet to a veterinarian immediately.

Midwest summers bring adventure and lots of outdoor fun — for you and your pets. However, there are many unique health risks that present themselves throughout the summer months. No one knows your dog better than you. So enjoy this time of year, pay extra atttention to your pet's well-being, and be safe!