LANSING, Mich. — With temperatures nearing 90 degrees, pet owners need to be on high alert for signs of heat exhaustion in their beloved pets. Here are some tips to keep in mind, as well symptoms that your animal may need emergency medical care:
- Know the warning signs for heat exhaustion - Excessive panting (more than normal), increased respiration and trouble breathing, diarrhea, weakness, collapse, and seizures. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice these symptoms and cannot cool your pet down quickly.
- Your pet will need lots of water - Keep fresh water available at all times. Water consumption will go up as temperatures rise. Check on your animal’s water supply regularly.
- If your pet has to be outside, ensure that there is shade available - While it is ideal to bring pets inside during extreme temperatures, that may not always be possible. Ensure your pet can get out of direct sunlight.
- Do not encourage exercise - While your pet may be a regular running partner, keep in mind that animals have a different cooling system than humans do. While exercise is important for our pets, taking a few days off is a much safer choice when temperatures are dangerous.
- Be extremely cautious when walking your pet on asphalt and paved surfaces - You wear shoes most of the time, so you may not think about heat coming off the pavement. While dogs and cats have durable pads on their feet, hot surfaces can lead to very serious burns. Check the pavement first or avoid it all together.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET IN A PARKED CAR
While this is a rule any time it is warm, many people still do not understand how quickly the temperatures rise in a parked vehicle, even with the window cracked. Remember that as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe. It is never worth the risk. If you see an animal in a parked car, call 911. Time is of the essence when temperatures are extreme.
- Animals with flat faces are especially prone to heat exhaustion, because they naturally have more difficulty breathing - Very young and very old animals are also more susceptible. Keep a special eye on your animals if they fit these categories.
- If you are concerned that an animal is in danger due to the heat, contact your local animal control or the humane society - There are resources to help animals in danger. Please call your local animal control or the Capital Area Humane Society to report your concerns. It is our job as a community to keep pets safe.
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