AUBURN, Ala. – With summer on its way, temperatures are steadily rising. Soon, most days could see temperatures ranging in the late 80s to the upper 90s. During times of high temperatures, owners must protect their pets from the dangers of heat-related illnesses.
Keep Pets Hydrated
Robert Spencer, an Alabama Extension animal science specialist, said it is important to take extra measures to keep pets hydrated in high temperatures.
“Pets should have access to fresh water at multiple locations. Animals may be unwilling to move about to access water.” Spencer said. “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, said that adequate water is crucial and should be monitored closely.
“I always recommend checking water twice a day,” Marks said.
Marks said dogs larger than 30 to 40 pounds should have access to one gallon of water per day. Smaller dogs need to have access to one-half gallon of water per day.
“Too much water won’t hurt them,” Marks said. “It’s not getting enough that causes problems.”
Provide Shade for Pets
During times of high temperatures, shade is also a vital element to a pet’s well-being, especially those that stay outside.
“Any shade is good shade as long as there is ventilation,” Marks said. “White or lighter colored pets require additional shade because they sunburn more easily.”
Spencer said that pets need shade from early morning until dusk.
“Shade can be as simple as leafy trees or bushes where animals can escape direct sunlight,” Spencer said. “Semi-enclosed shelters that have good air flow is another good shade option.”
Additionally, Spencer that owners can use fans and misters to help keep pets cooler.
If you believe your pet is suffering from a heat-related illness, there are a few signs to look for.
“Look for bright red gums, hyper-salivation and a temperature exceeding 104 degrees,” Marks said. “These symptoms indicate that the dog is in need of immediate emergency medical care.”
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