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Protect Pets From Heat

June 26, 2012, 6:01 PM by Michaela Read

Protect Pets From Heat
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Keeping cool in weather like this isn't easy when you're covered in fur. That is why veterinarian Mike McIntyre doesn't always enjoy summer.

"I feel heartbroken when I see these cases come about because you'd think they'd be so preventable," McIntyre said.

McIntyre sees preventable cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion in animals every year. Clear blue skies and a sizzling summer sun puts pets everywhere at higher risk, so kennel owner Deb Heine takes extra care to help the critters in her care cool off.

"We have shade. We have pools set out. We have water buckets set out so they have water anytime they need it," Heine said.

Temperatures in cars can rise rapidly in minutes. If you think that's uncomfortable, imagine how it is for your furry friend.

"Normally, we are looking at a temperature of a cat to be 101; a dog is 102. So they are already a bit on the warm side. You take a hot summer's day and it's very easy for a car, even with the windows down, to reach temperatures of 130-150." McIntyre said.

Heat-related illnesses can cause permanent damage to your pet and many of the signs of an over-heated animal are similar to those in people.

"We watch for lethargy. We watch for heavy drooling. We watch for them acting silly, losing their balance," Heine said.

Watching your pet carefully is key.

"You know your dog best and you know the signs," Heine said.

"Our pets are similar to our children to so many of us. We take them everywhere and we do everything.  It just takes that one split second and the damage that can occur very quickly," McIntyre said.

Almost all dogs, with the exception of those with "flat faces" such as Boxers, pugs and bulldogs, can tolerate the warmer weather as long as they are given plenty of water, shade and air conditioning.  It's also important to avoid leaving white dogs or those with a very short coat outside in the sun too long because they can actually be sunburned in hot weather.

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