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Our pets need plenty of hydration in the extreme heat the region has experienced as of late. STOCK PHOTOOur pets need plenty of hydration in the extreme heat the region has experienced as of late. STOCK PHOTO

By Mollie LaSalle
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It is the third week of August, and it seems like the temperature just keeps going up. It was 102 degrees on my back porch just the other day, and my poor outside cats just looked miserable. They were seeing how close they could get to the side of the house, on the cement under a window, and they just looked so hot.

I make sure to keep their water bowl in the shade, and keep it re-filled during the hottest part of the day. The other day, I put ice cubes in it, and one of the cats didn’t know what to make of that. She acted like she was scared, and finally got some water, but avoided the ice cubes.

The unrelenting heat and high humidity can be dangerous for pets, just as it is for humans. They can die from heat stroke, get dehydrated, and even get sunburned. On very hot days, keep your pet inside where the A/C is. If this is not feasible, make sure they have plenty of shade, and a full bowl of water. A good idea would be to get a kiddie pool, fill it with water, and keep it in the shade.

Please do not leave your dog in a hot car, even with the windows cracked; this will not prevent your pet from overheating or suffering a heatstroke; the interior temperature of a car can go from 80 to 120 in less than five minutes, even with the windows cracked. Extra care should be taken for older and or overweight pets. Asphalt can burn your dog’s paws. if the ground is too hot for you to go barefooted, it is too hot for your dog. If you must walk your dog, walk in grassy areas and use protective booties for their feet.

Animals don’t cool down by sweating. They have their own ways of cooling down, like panting, but it can be harder for them to regulate their body temperature in extremely high heat. Heat strokes happen when your dog’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels, and they can’t cool down. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include: drooling, excessive panting, red gums, increased heart rate, vomiting, weakness, and seizures. If you think your dog is having a heat stroke, take them to a cool, shaded area, give them cool water, cover them with a cool wet towel, and call your vet for advice.

Your pet can get dehydrated in extremely hot weather fairly quickly if they don’t have enough water to drink. Plan on bring extra water when taking your dog out for a walk, or any other outdoor activities. Symptoms of dehydration in pets include: difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, excessive panting, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, dry nose, sunken eyes, or collapse. I cases of dehydration, offer small amounts of ice water, as giving too much water can cause them to vomit, making it worse.

The main thing to keep in mind is if it’s too hot for you to be outside, it’s too hot for your pet. Bear in mind that they can’t tell you their hot, and honestly, would you walk outside in 100+ degree heat wearing a fur coat? Your pet does that and they can’t tell you that they are suffering. Even five minutes outside in extreme heat can be deadly for your pets.

I have indoor cats and outside feral cats. The outside cats find inventive ways to stay cool, but I wish I could do more for them, as I know they are uncomfortable, but I do make sure they have cool water to drink, and I keep their food in the shade as much as possible. My indoor brood stays comfortable with the A/C on all day; I set it at 74, and they do just fine. The only thing we need now is rain, and lots of it. Hopefully, all these 100 plus degree days are coming to an end soon, and I personally can’t wait.

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