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Pet owners: Beware of soaring temperatures
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Editor, What does it take for people to see pets are just as miserable as we are, if not more so, when temperatures outside are rising? They prefer to stay in air-conditioned rooms while their dog is outside panting, sweating and barely managing to stay alive — or not.
Dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke than we are.  For one, a dog wears his fur coat all year. While dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, they do not have them on the rest of their body like we do. They rely on panting to cool down but this method is not as affective as sweating.
Certain breeds are much more susceptible to heat stroke than others, i.e. dogs with thick, double coats and dogs with pushed back faces, such as bulldogs, pugs and boxers that have smaller airways and less of an ability to blow out hot air.
There is no good reason to keep an animal outside in extreme weather. If we are uncomfortable, chances are he is even more uncomfortable. Even if a pet is kept outside for just a few hours, there are things that can be done to make it more tolerable:
1. Have plenty of fresh, cold drinking water and check it frequently to make sure it does not run out.
2. Make sure there is shade. If you don’t have trees, put up a patio umbrella or a canopy. But remember, as the sun shifts so does the shade.  
3. Purchase a cheap, plastic kiddie pool and fill it with cool water. Many dogs love water and this will give them a chance to stay cool.
4. Run a fan, but make sure it is securely in place and the dog can’t get to it.
5. If your dog has long hair, get him shaved to alleviate some of his discomfort.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from a heat stroke, cool him down as quickly as you can and call your vet immediately.
Symptoms of heat stroke are rapid and heavy panting, drooling, gasping for air, glassy eyes, weakness, and sometimes deep-red gums and the inability to stand. In some extreme cases, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting can occur.  
Cooling your dog’s body temperature down quickly is very important. The fastest way to do this is by using cool water. Do not use ice water, as a dramatic change in temperature can be dangerous. Put your dog in a bathtub, sink or kiddie pool filled with cool water. You can also put cool, wet towels around your dog’s body. Be sure to refresh the towels in cool water every few minutes. Spray your dog with the hose, dump buckets of water on him or place him in front of an air conditioner are a few more ways to cool down his body temperature. Offer your dog a drink and be sure to contact your vet right away.
Even though these suggestions could help save pets lives, the most humane place for animals in this heat is in their air conditioned home.  

Petra Brooks
Liberty County
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