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Helping pets beat the heat

By Rachel Wartian

Intern

Summer can be a great time to soak in the sun and eat good food. Unfortunately, some of these activities can have a negative effect on your pets.

Ellen Norris at the Animal Clinic of Eagle Harbor has some tips to keep loved furry friends safe this summer.

“The most important thing is to limit outside activity and exposure to heat during the high sun hours,” said Norris.

If pets must be outside, make sure they are in the shade and have plenty of fresh water. Bringing pets inside during the extreme heat can be just as important as bringing them in during the harsh winters.

For outdoor walks, the morning and evening are the best times. These are the cooler parts of the day and leave your pet less vulnerable to the heat. Make sure that their time on the hot street is limited for their paws. Trails and grassy areas are also good alternatives. If blisters or burns start to appear, take them to the vet for treatment.

Unfortunately, some pet owners still need to be reminded not to leave a pet in the hot car no matter the length of time or circumstance. At least once a year, a pet is brought into the clinic due to being left in the car for only a short amount of time.

“Go to stores that are pet-friendly like PetSmart or Lowes,” said Norris when speaking about alternatives. “Or leave them at home.”

When it comes to getting your pet groomed, some long-haired pets need that hair for protection from the sun. However, some pets may need a trim to keep them cool.

“An experienced groomer can tell you what breeds do the best with summer cuts,” said Norris.

Overall, the heat of the summer is not something that should be taken lightly when it comes to pets.

“Heat stroke is a serious thing,” Norris warned. “If your pet acts confused, is panting hard, or vomiting, take them to the emergency room immediately. Heat stroke is not something you can cure at home.”

The heat is not the only danger animals face during the summer. Cookouts can also expose animals to new elements that are not healthy for them. Not all people foods are safe for pets to eat. Some summer staples are safe, such as watermelon, carrots and green beans. Norris stressed that grapes are very dangerous for them to eat. When in doubt, do not feed your pet from the table.

Pools are a great way to cool down; however, pet owners need to be careful when around water.

“Pets should always be supervised while in the water,” said Norris. “There are life vests designated for animals and most pet stores carry them.”

Make sure dogs do not drink too much water while swimming. The chemicals in pool water can be toxic if too much is swallowed.

Summer is still a great time to do outdoor activities with pets. Just make sure that it is in a manner that keeps everyone involved healthy and safe.