State Veterinarian Offers Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in Summer Heat - PREVENTION IS THE BEST PROTECTION

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•    Give pets a haircut; especially those with longer or thicker fur. Most cats and dogs are more comfortable with shorter hair and less likely to suffer heat injuries during hot weather.

•    Avoid walking pets on hard surfaces, especially asphalt exposed to direct sunlight, which can heat up under the summer sun and burn a pet’s paws on contact.

•    If your dog takes a jog with you every day, consider leaving it home. Humans can wear lighter clothes and sweat. Pets don’t sweat and can quickly suffer a heat injury, even before the run is finished.  

•    Owners need to reduce the duration and strenuousness of exercise, limit exercise to early mornings and late evenings on hot, humid days, and always keep a fresh, full bowl of water nearby. A cool environment should always be available, and animals should not be left outside for long periods during the day without lots of water and adequate shelter from the sun.

•    If possible, don’t take your pet in the car. Even with air conditioning, pets can overheat when exposed to direct sunlight in the car. Pet owners should never leave a pet in a car in summer heat, even if the car is parked in the shade with the windows cracked. It only takes a few minutes for temperatures inside a car to reach dangerously high levels and it is against the law in many places.

•    While all dogs and cats are at risk, special care should be taken with older or very young pets, overweight pets, animals with chronic disease such as cancer, heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes and other endocrine disorders, and short-nosed dogs (like pugs and bulldogs).

•    Not all dogs take to water or know instinctively how to swim well. Don’t throw your dog into a pool or other body of water if he’s never been in one before. A dog can tire quickly, become exhausted and could drown.     

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