Haven of the Ozarks offers tips to keep pets cool

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

As temperatures soar and the humidity rises, it is important to check on neighbors and friends, take breaks from the heat and stay hydrated.

Excessive heat doesn't only pose a health risk to humans. Heat can also be dangerous for dogs, cats and other pets.

Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary in Exeter offers the following tips to help pets stay cool during the hot summer months:

* Freeze a bowl of water that is smaller than the pet's normal water container each evening. Place the frozen water in the larger water container each morning.

*Give the pet fresh, cool water as often as possible.

* Provide a shallow pool of water for the pet to step into and cool their paws. Dogs and cats stay cool by panting and through the pads of their feet.

* Make sure the pet has access to shade or an airy shelter at all times.

* When traveling with a pet, carry water and offer it to the pet frequently.

* Never leave a pet in a vehicle. Even with the windows cracked, it gets dangerously hot inside a closed car.

* Pets will dig holes to cooler earth when they are hot. Allow them to dig. The hole can be filled in during the fall.

A very wide, thin tongue is a sign of distress. Pets that are unable to cool down can have seizures, lapse into comas or die. If a pet is in distress, they should be moved to an air conditioned space and wrapped in a cool, wet towel. It can also help to dip the pet's feet in cool water.

Icy water or an icy towel should never be used to cool a pet in distress. This can cause the animal to go into shock.

Animals that continue to show signs of distress after being placed in an air conditioned environment should be seen by a veterinarian.

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