AUBURN, Alabama–As the state bakes with temperatures in the 90s, remember to protect pets from the dangers of heat-related illnesses. Alabama Extension specialist Robert Spencer says it’s important to take extra measures to keep pets hydrated in high temperatures.
Plentiful Water Crucial
“Pets should have access to fresh water at multiple locations,” he said. “Animals may be unwilling to move about to access water.
“Also, ponds, streams, and creeks may not be enough and they may not offer fresh, healthy water.”
Dr. Lauren Marks, a veterinarian in northeast Alabama, seconded Spencer said that adequate water is crucial and should be monitored closely.
Marks said, “I always recommend checking water twice a day.”
She said to provide dogs larger than 30 to 40 pounds with one gallon of water per day and smaller dogs with one-half gallon per day.
“Too much water won’t hurt them,” said Marks. “It’s not getting enough that causes problems.”
Made in the Shade
Additionally, shade is another vital element to a pet’s well-being, especially those that stay outside.
“Any shade is good shade as long as there is ventilation,” said Marks.
Spencer added that pets need shade from early morning until dusk.
“Shade can be in the form of leafy trees or bushes where animals can escape direct sunlight,” he said. “Semi-enclosed shelters with good air flow are another shade option.”
Spencer added that fan with fans and misters can be used in place where practical and will help keep pets cooler.
Marks said that white or lighter colored pets require additional shade because they sunburn more easily.
If you believe your pet is suffering from a heat-related illness, Marks said to look for bright red gums, hyper-salivation and a temperature exceeding 104 degrees. These symptoms indicate that the dog is in need of immediate emergency medical care.
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