State Veterinarian Offers Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in Summer Heat - KNOW THE SIGNS; KNOW THE PROPER RESPONSE

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•    Heat stress is a warning that the pet is becoming overheated. If not corrected, heat stress can lead to heat injuries, often very suddenly. Signs of heat stress include weakness, reluctance to move, refusal to continue exercising, unusually red or dark colored gums, excessive salivation, unusual thirst, excessive panting or difficulty breathing. If you observe any of these, stop the exercise immediately and get the animal to a cool, shady area immediately and provide cool water and rest. If the animal does not recover quickly or gets worse, cool them with water, wet towels, fans, ice packs etc and immediately consult a veterinarian.

•    Heat injuries may be life threatening. Early signs of heat injuries include apparent lameness (from cramping), vomiting during or after exercise, inability or refusal to rise or walk. Heat injuries can progress rapidly and need to be treated immediately. Immediately get the animal to a cool place and take steps to cool them described above. Allow them to drink water if they are able. If they cannot drink or if their condition deteriorates, continue to cool the animal and immediately consult a veterinarian.

•    Serious heat injuries are a life threatening event. Quick, correct action is essential. Cool the pet and take them to a veterinarian immediately if you observe disorientation or other abnormal behavior, collapse, seizure or loss of consciousness. Do not attempt to force water on a pet that is not able to drink without assistance.

“Every summer we see tragic, unnecessary deaths and injuries to pets because pet owners don’t fully appreciate the danger these high temperature pose to companion animals,” said Dr. Hohenhaus. “Just a little awareness on this issue can prevent your pet from suffering and save a lot of pain and heartbreak.”

The following are some other simple summer pet safety tips:

•    Beware of poisonous or dangerous items such as plant food, insecticides, fertilizer, antifreeze, coins (especially pennies), string or fishing line, citronella candles, oil products, and insect coils that may be around the home and yard and make your pet sick if eaten. This is particularly important for puppies, kittens or any animal that chews indiscriminately.

•    Limit the access to human food. Too much fatty food during picnics or after eating from the garbage can may lead to a life threatening condition of the pancreas.

•    The heat, loud noise, and confusion of crowded summer events can stress pets and isn’t always an enjoyable experience for them.

•    Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar or identification such as a tag or microchip. Ask your veterinarian to scan the microchip and make sure it is working on each visit.

•    Maintain recommended heartworm medication since heartworm disease, transmitted by mosquitoes may be life threatening.

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