Heat and humidity can lead to a number of health issues for dogs

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 5:08 PM EDT
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The heat and humidity can cause a number of problems for your pets, especially dogs. You may have heard it all before, but local veterinarians say it's worth repeating.

The heat is one thing, but vets say when you add in humidity there's another layer of potential problems. Simply put, if you're hot so is your pet. Experts say a little common sense goes a long way.

Dr. Alan Kao owns Oregon Animal Hospital, "Humidity is the worst thing when it comes to heat. Humidity makes it so they can't control their temps very well. Dogs control their temps by using their tongue and panting. That requires the moisture to evaporate, and if it doesn't evaporate there is no cooling."

The warm temps and humidity are toughest on certain dogs, "It is especially difficult for dogs with heart failure and dogs with smooshed-in faces like pugs or bull dogs. Because of their noses, they can't move the air very well."

There are plenty of other summer-time issues for your pets. While allergies can be year-round, Dr. Kao has treated a lot of dogs in recent weeks. And there are other skin issues, "Ringworm and dermatophytes like to attack warm, moist skin and especially injured skin."

There's also a fungal infection called blastomycosis. Dr. Kao says it's not common in this area, but it can be fatal. He says dogs get it by breathing in spores, "That's typically found in areas where there is a water source like a river or pond. Usually dogs that get it live within a 1/4 mile of a water source. However, it is not common in this area."

Another big issue this time of year is fleas and ticks, "Fleas peak in October, so we have not seen the worst of it yet. Ticks are most abundant in the spring, but they continue throughout the warm summer months so they are still a concern."

Back to the heat and humidity. Dr. Kao says in this kind of weather even outside dogs should be brought inside. If you are unable to do that, he says make sure they have a fresh water source and lots of shade, "We all want to be in the air conditioning when it is hot and humid. Most of us don't want to be out in it or exercising in it. If you have to walk your dog, try to do it in the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler. Keep in mind that when it's hot we all want to be in the cool air, and so do your pets."