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Tips for keeping them safe in the heat

Staff Report

If the heat is brutal for us humans, imagine how much worse it can be for animals. 

According to PETA, there have already been 29 heat-related animal deaths in the U.S. so far in 2022, along with 176 rescues — and these numbers are only what have been reported. Experts from ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and The Humane Society offer the following tips to be a responsible pet owner and keep your four-legged friends safe in the heat: 

• Do not let your dog (or cat) linger on hot asphalt, as their sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during high-temperature times to a minimum, or have them wear pet socks to protect their paws. 

• Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle, not even with the windows cracked, as temperatures inside can skyrocket to dangerous and oftentimes fatal levels (and is illegal in several states). 

• Watch the humidity levels. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they’re unable to cool themselves down. 

• Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors, and have a shady place for them to get out of the sun. 

• Animals with flat faces like pugs and Persian cats are more susceptible to heat stroke as they cannot pant effectively. Keep these pets, along with elderly and overweight pets or those with underlying health conditions, in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible.

• Never shave your dog, as the layers of a dog’s coat protects them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. 

• Know the symptoms of overheating in pets: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, drooling, dazed behavior, lack of coordination, a deep red or purple tongue, diarrhea, vomiting and even seizures or collapsing. 

• Cool your pet inside and out with a cooling treat, body wrap, vest, mat or bath.

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