The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story by Lindsey Wells, pho­tog­ra­phy by Richard Ras­mussen

The sum­mer months can be un­com­fort­able for peo­ple and pets alike. As much as we wel­come the sun and fun af­ter the cold win­ter months, Arkansas' hu­mid, sauna-like at­mos­phere is al­most un­bear­able dur­ing sum­mer­time, and if you're feel­ing the heat, your pet is, too.

HER set out to find a list of tips and tricks to help you keep your pets healthy and cool this sum­mer.

Avoid walk­ing on hot sur­faces

Both dogs and cats sweat through their paws and pant to cool them­selves down, so avoid hot side­walks and asphalt and, in­stead of ex­er­cis­ing them in the heat of the day, try to walk them early in the morn­ing or late af­ter­noon.

Never leave a pet unat­tended in a ve­hi­cle

The tem­per­a­ture in­side a parked car can climb 40 de­grees or more within an hour, and ac­cord­ing to Lyn­d­sey Win­dle, owner and vet­eri­nar­ian at Spaw City An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal, it doesn't even have to be hot out­side to be dan­ger­ous in­side a ve­hi­cle. If you see an an­i­mal locked in a hot car, do not take mat­ters into your own hands. In­stead, im­me­di­ately call a law en­force­ment agency.

Sup­ply fresh, clean drink­ing wa­ter for your pet

All pets need clean drink­ing wa­ter. If you have out­door pets, make sure the con­tain­ers are kept clean and in the shade. Fill up mul­ti­ple con­tain­ers with wa­ter just in case one is ac­ci­den­tally spilled, and add some ice to the wa­ter to keep it cool.

Pro­vide your pet with a cool pool

Ivy Wood, pres­i­dent of the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of Gar­land County, sug­gests fill­ing up a kid­die pool with cool, fresh wa­ter for your dog to wade in while play­ing out­side.

“At the shel­ter we use kid­die pools in our play yards,” she said. “We're lucky enough to have lots of play yards with lots of trees, so we have shade. We get kid­die pools and we fill them up with wa­ter and the dogs love them. Even if a dog is just stand­ing in one it's cool­ing its feet, which cools their body.”

Help your dog beat the heat with cool treats

Wood sug­gests keep­ing your dog cool with peanut but­ter Pop­si­cles or chicken broth ice cubes.

“We have peo­ple who are nice enough to vol­un­teer to bring us bags of ice cubes made from chicken broth,” she said. “Things like that are great treats that help cool your an­i­mals.”

Win­dle sug­gests snow cones and Pop­si­cles, but she said to avoid grape fla­vors. Vanilla ice cream from Wendy's or Sonic is a great treat, too.

Pro­vide proper shade or out­door shel­ter

“Some peo­ple might think that a dog­house pro­vides good shade, but it re­ally doesn't. Even a tarp stretched out some­where is bet­ter than a dog­house,” said Wood. “A dog­house doesn't give any air cir­cu­la­tion and is of­ten hot­ter than just be­ing out­side. Peo­ple shouldn't think that their pet that has a dog­house to get into doesn't need shade. If your dog is an in­door dog, keep them in­side in the AC as much as pos­si­ble.”

Win­dle said that shorter-nosed breeds re­quire much cooler tem­per­a­tures and maybe even a fan to stay cool. She added that tile floors are also nice for dogs to walk and re­lax on.

Cats need to be taken care of too

Even though cats are more in­de­pen­dent than dogs and can han­dle hot tem­per­a­tures bet­ter, they still rely on their own­ers to keep them safe in the heat.

“Cats cool down through their feet and they cool down from pant­ing, you just don't see them do it as much,” said Wood. “A cat will sleep maybe 16 hours a day and they're pretty good about find­ing a shady place. Some­times if a cat is groom­ing it­self more than nor­mal, that's an­other cool­ing method for them; their saliva on their fur causes cool­ing. Cats are not as likely to go out and run around in the heat and overex­er­cise them­selves like a dog that gets ex­citable would do, but they still need shade and it's best to try to k keep them in be­tween about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

If it's hot­ter than 85 de­grees, leave your dog at home

Hu­mans can en­dure, and some even en­joy, sit­ting out­side in the heat. Dogs, on the other h hand, can be left se­verely de­hy­drated and when ex­posed to high tem­per­a­tures over an ex­tended pe­riod of time, their bod­ies may be­come un­able to cool down. If they can­not be left in­doors, be sure to bring plenty of fresh, cool wa­ter with you so your dog can stay hy­drated on the go.

Know the symp­toms of heat ex­haus­tion and de­hy­dra­tion

Symp­toms of de­hy­dra­tion or heat ex­haus­tion m may in­clude ex­ces­sive pant­ing and drool­ing, rapid pulse, lack of co­or­di­na­tion, red gums and t tongue, lethargy, dark urine, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhea, loss of ap­petite, sunken eyes and a dry nose.

If you sus­pect heat ex­haus­tion or de­hy­dra­tion, your dog needs to be cooled down, but not too quickly.

“They don't need to be thrown into a bath of ice wa­ter or any­thing; they need to be cooled down slowly and, if they're pretty bad, they can have an ice pack on the head and neck area,” said Wood. “If you've got­ten all those signs then you need to give them lit­tle bits of (cool, not cold) wa­ter, maybe an ice cube to chew on, and then get them to a vet.”

“Cool them down, wet their feet, wet their hair coat with wa­ter and put a fan on them. If you don't have a fan, you can put them in front of your re­frig­er­a­tor door. Cool­ing them down too far is also a dan­ger,” said Win­dle.



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