Take precautions with pets during hot summer weather

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Prizes were awarded to the winners of the 2013 Pet Parade at Adam’s Park. Pictured were Kayse Furniss (l-r), Jared Staib, Brandi Sims, Emily Haselschwerat, Ryon Heath holding daughter Estelle and wife Brooke holding daughter Ingrid, (unidentified man), Samantha Suliman and Hunter Fox. Photo by Jim Lincoln

July is hot. Humans sweat and park themselves in front of a fan or air conditioner to keep cool, but canine companions may need some help beating the heat.

Heat exhaustion in dogs happens fast, and the outdoor temperatures don’t need to be in triple digits for a dog to get sick. Sometimes heatstroke happens when it’s a change from 50 degree to 80 degree temperatures or when the humidity starts to rise, according to Dr. Ed Tritt of Tecumseh Veterinary Hospital.

Symptoms of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

“Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion,” said Jackie Yeary of Companion Animal Clinic. “We enjoy outdoor activities with our pooches, but they can’t tell us when they have over exerted themselves.”

Cars can be a major cause of heatstroke.

“Do not leave your pet in the car while it is off and unattended,” said Yeary. “Even with the windows left down, 75 degrees is too hot.”

Tritt said, “Leave your dog home. Even leaving the windows slightly open isn’t going to change the temperature of the car.”

Dogs spending time outside need water and a shady spot to cool off. Even with the proper environment, dogs need to be inside most of the time.

“I wouldn’t leave them out there for more than an hour at a time,” said Tritt.

Splash time in the water might seem like a great way to cool a dog down, but there are definitely water hazards.

“Do not leave your dog in areas where there is unsupervised access to pools, ponds, rivers and creeks,” Yeary said. “Some dogs enjoy swimming, but even the best doggy paddlers can get into trouble.”

Tritt suggests being careful of dogs swimming in ponds, because bacteria and algae can make a dog sick. “The same things that would affect us will affect them,” Tritt said.

This year ticks are a big problem for dogs and humans. According to Tritt, the belief that ticks drop from trees is incorrect. “They’re sitting on grass leaves as you walk by,” he said.

“The experts say you should also think about alternating products month to month,” said Tritt, because resistance can build up when just using one single medication.

With all the mosquitoes feasting on humans and canines this summer, dog owners must be vigilant in protecting dogs from heartworm, which is spread by mosquitoes. “It’s treatable,” Tritt said, “but it’s expensive to treat.” Heartworm can seriously damage heart, lungs and liver.

More information is available at www.tecumsehvethosp.vetstreet.com or www.caccares.com.

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