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How to protect pets in the heat and humidity


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Virginia summers are notoriously hot and humid. Pets are particularly at risk because, unlike humans, they are unable to sweat to help cool themselves off.

Dr. Alex Ent from the Susan Markel Veterinary Hospital at the Richmond SPCA says that certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heat-related stress.

She says brachiocephalic or short-face dogs like pugs, English bulldogs, boxers, French bulldogs, and Boston terriers are extra susceptible to the heat.

This is because their breathing is not as efficient.

Those at highest risk are our senior animals, those with a heart condition, breathing problems, or other preexisting health conditions.

Animals with dark-colored fur or thick coats will become overheated much more quickly than those with short hair or light-colored fur.

And never, ever leave your pet alone in a car on a hot day.

Dr. Ent reminds us that even with the windows rolled down, temperatures will rise rapidly inside the vehicle and heat exhaustion can take hold in 15-20 minutes or less, depending upon how hot it is outside.

So, how do we know if our pet is suffering from heat exhaustion?

Dr. Ent suggests that we might start to see a lot of drooling, panting gets a lot heavier, or that our pets seek out the shade or become more intolerant of exercise.

You may note that the animal is slowing down significantly or doesn’t want to move forward.

At this point, get them inside with air conditioning and plenty of water.

If you start to see more severe symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, these could be signs of heat stroke, and you’ll want to get them to the vet right away.

If your dog or cat has to be outside, make sure they have shade and plenty of cool water to drink to stay hydrated. They should also have a way to get inside the house if they need to cool down.

For your high-energy dogs on a hot day, Dr. Ent recommends directly interacting with them inside the house, playing with their toys or doing tricks. For many dogs, that high energy comes from the need for mental stimulation.

When you take your dog for a walk, make sure it’s early in the morning or evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day.

Be sure to walk them in the grass as much as possible because hot asphalt will quickly burn their paws. If you can’t walk on it barefoot, neither can your pet.

Preparing for Summer

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