HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Our pets are family to us and as we head into the summer months, it's important to know how to keep them safe from heat exhaustion, burned paws, or worse.
We spoke to Blake Dewitt, an Associate Veterinarian at Chase Animal Hospital, about dangers like heat exhaustion in pets. "The number one thing that animals start to do is pant, so that's how they relieve some of that excess heat. But if they're not in the shade or a nice cool spot, then their body temperature will start to rise. so, once that body temperature is above 103... That's when you start to get into a critical area."
Dewitt says that once animals reach 107-degrees they'll go into organ failure. So, how do you help your pet if they get too hot?
"If you can, get them inside an air conditioning and put a fan on them because you want lots of fresh air flowing and you can also put a cool rag on their feet and you can even do it on their chest but you need to keep changing those rags every couple of minutes."
Another threat to your pet is walking on hot pavement.
"When they step on to hot of concrete or asphalt or even grass like astro-turf, those paws will actually burn. So it's kind of like an intense sunburn. We've had a couple of cases come in already this summer and you can't walk... Those poor puppies, they're in so much pain."
Dewitt suggests walking your pet in the early morning or late evening.. And if you're not sure about the temperature, put your hand on the concrete or asphalt. Dewitt explains, "If it's too hot for you to touch, then it's too hot for your pets to walk on."
And if you're thinking of taking your pets in the car, always keep the air conditioning on, although Dewitt says it's best to leave them at home.
"They give so much to us, they love us to the ends of the earth. And, really, we just have to take care of them."
If you think your pet is suffering from heat-related illness take them to your vet or an emergency animal hospital.