DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Temperatures across the Midwest have been hot and humid, causing many to seek shade and air conditioned spaces. While the heat can be uncomfortable for humans, high temperatures and humidity can be just as miserable and even dangerous for pets. President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, Brian Weltge, said it’s important to pay attention to signs that your pet may be experiencing heat stress.
“Any time an animal overheats, it’s very, very serious. Prevention is probably the most important thing – making sure to prevent that from happening, but if it were to happen, you start to see dogs get very lethargic, they start panting, they become listless. Whenever things like that start to occur, you have to get them to a vet very quickly.”
Weltge said one of the main reasons for this, is that animals process overheating differently than humans, making it especially important to monitor your pet’s behaviors when they are outdoors for extended periods.
“You can’t keep [pets] out in the sun. Dogs for example, don’t sweat like people sweat, so they get rid of heat through their tongue and through their feet. Longhair dogs with lots of fur can overheat quickly. Short dogs with little snouts don’t get rid of heat fast enough, either. And so its really important to be mindful of what kind of pet you have and making sure that if you want to exercise them, maybe exercise them early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler out.”
The Humane Society of the United States says one of the most important tips for pet owners is to never leave furry friends in the car, not even when it’s running and the AC is turned on. HumaneSociety.org gives an example of just how hot the inside of a car can get. On an 85 degree day, temperatures in a vehicle can reach up to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes with the windows down, according to the site, and that can cause organ failure and even death for some pets.
Weltge emphasized that the best possible way to keep pets from experiencing heat stress is not putting them in dangerous situations begins with, adding there’s no reason why they should be exposed to extreme temperatures.
“Again, it’s about prevention. It’s about not taking them out in the middle of the day when it’s super hot, it’s about allowing them access to fresh water throughout the day, it’s about not exercising them when it’s super hot out. It’s about just making sure that if they have a long coat, maybe you want to get them groomed so it’s a shorter coat so they don’t get as hot as quickly. Read up on the type of animal that you have and understand its requirements, but it’s not acceptable by any standards to have pets overheat during the summer months.”
The most important thing, Weltge says, is to treat your pets the way you would want to be treated, keeping them hydrated and in the cool air as much as possible. He added, anyone who sees a pet that may be at risk for heat stress or exhaustion should call 268-PETS, so professionals can investigate the situation.
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