Tips to protect your pets from the Texas summer heat

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 11:55:15-04

Higher temperatures in the summer mean higher risks for heat exhaustion or heat stroke for your pet.  

Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has some tips for keeping your furry friends cool.

“Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are major problems for pets in the summer, especially in short-nosed breeds, such a pug or a bulldog,” Eckman said.  “These conditions can occur during hot and humid days and even cooler days, if your pets aren’t accustomed to the heat.”

Heat exhaustion is the early signs of heat stroke, causing lethargy, vomiting and weakness. But, following exercise or time in the summer heat, a heat stroke can occur with more severe signs including lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and pale mucous membranes. If not recognized and treated immediately, a heat stroke could lead to significant problems in your pet, including death, Eckman says.

But that’s not all the dangerous your pet may face in the summer heat. Your pet can suffer from paw pad burns when walking outside on the blistering concrete so be sure to keep them off the concrete or asphalt for extended periods of time.

Eckman also says it’s a bad idea to leave your pets in the car or bed of a truck, which can lead to heat exhaustion or stroke even if there is a breeze outside.

While it might seem like a good idea to put your pet in cold water when they are overheated, Eckman advises slowly cooling down your pet to avoid more internal heat problems.

“Some people will try to provide ice water baths for overheated pets; this can actually make them retain heat internally,” Eckman said. “Instead, bring the overheated pet inside and provide them with cool water and a fan. Wetting a towel and putting it on the pet’s coat also may be helpful.”

More helpful tips to keeping your furry friend cool during the summer include adding a doghouse, a shallow kiddie pool and enough cool water outside. It's also best to exercise your pet during the morning or evening when it’s not as hot outside.

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