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Archive for Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hot weather takes toll on pets

July 22, 2001

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Summer is upon us and that can mean many fun activities for the whole family, including your pet.

Car rides, walks and trips to the park may be the activities of choice for you and your pet this summer. But keep safety in mind when planning activities with your pet. The hot summer months can pose serious health threats to your furry friends.

Your pet will be safer indoors during the hot days. If you are unable to bring your pet inside, be sure the animal has access to plenty of shade and cool water to help your pet's natural cooling process. Without them, your pet can suffer sunburn, heatstroke, brain damage and even death.

Most dogs love to go for car rides. But never leave your pet in a parked car, even when the windows are open.

In Lawrence, it is illegal to leave your pet in a parked car for more than five minutes when the temperature outside is above 80 degrees or below 30 degrees. On a warm day, temperatures in a parked car can reach 160 degrees in a short time.

Dogs don't sweat as people do. Instead, they pant to cool themselves. With only hot air to breathe, your dog's ability to cool himself is hindered. This can cause brain damage or death in a matter of minutes.

Avoid activity and excitement on hot days. Take walks in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler. Bring some water along for your pet whenever you're away from home and give him access to small amounts frequently.

With summer also comes risk of disease, such as heartworms and rabies. Check your pet regularly for fleas and ticks; these pests are more common in summer months. Your veterinarian can advise you about risks and the best treatments for diseases and pest control.

Watch for signs of overheating, which can include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, collapse, bloody diarrhea or vomit, increased heart rate, excessive saliva, confusion or dizziness.

If your pet exhibits any of these signs, get the animal into a shady location and immerse it in cool water or spray with a hose. Place cool, wet towels on the animal's head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen. Then take your pet to the nearest veterinarian for emergency treatment.

Make the summer healthy and happy for all your family members by taking some simple precautions. Your pet will be glad you did.

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