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Protecting pets from heat stroke, exhaustion during summer heat

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Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 10:26:23-04

WACO, Texas — With temperatures sitting around 100 degrees, it's important that people are taking care of their animals and protecting them from this heat.

Pets, like humans, can suffer from heat stroke or exhaustion when temperatures get too high.

"Sometimes we see excessive panting or your pet isn't calming down once they get inside," Hewitt Veterinary Hospital Vet Dr. Kristin Dodson told 25 News. "They could vomit, they can start to act wobbly, they could even pass out. These are all signs of heat illness, which are all similar to signs of heat stroke in humans."

Dr. Kristin Dodson said while every dog should be protected during summer weather, there are certain breeds at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses.

"The animals I worry about the most with this heat are the brachycephalic dogs, so dogs with the smooshed faces - bulldogs, frenchies, boston terriers, pugs," she said. "They can not cool themselves as efficiently as the dogs with the longer snouts so they have significant risk for heat stroke or heat-related respiratory issues."

Dr. Dodson said most heat-related illnesses cases she sees are from dogs left in cars during hot weather.

"Please remember your dogs and don't leave them in vehicles," Waco PD's Cierra Shipley said. "Even if the windows are down or cracked a little bit, it's still going to get really hot in that car."

Waco PD doesn't see a lot of instances of pets left in vehicles, but they recommend that anyone who does call the police immediately and stay with the car until they get there.

"When 911 is called and our officers respond, that's a priority one call and our officers will go out to that incident," Shipley said. "But that's also going to be a call to pop a lock and that's going to be that person to come out and help unlock the vehicle."

Other ways to protect your pets include keeping them indoors, not taking long walks, and making sure their paws stay in the shade or on grass.

"What we worry about with walks is the pavement being too hot for their paws so put your hand on that pavement," Dr. Dodson said. "If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your pet's paws."

While it is encouraged to keep your animals indoors during the heat if you have an outdoor pet Texas law requires them to have adequate shelter, shade, and access to water.