Toledo vet has important reminders for protecting pets in extreme heat

Credit: Pixabay / MGN
Credit: Pixabay / MGN(KALB)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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As we continue to deal with this unrelenting heat, there are some simple things you can do to keep your pets cool too. While it may seem like nothing more than common sense, it's worth repeating. That's because there continue to be cases of animals that die after overheating.

Dr. Brooke West has devoted her life to keeping people's pets healthy.

So it is especially hard for her to see an animal die from something that's avoidable.

She's seen heat kill a number of animals throughout her career. "We see them come in with temperatures of 105 degrees and higher, and once they hit about 107 degrees it is unlikely they will ever leave the hospital," said Dr. West.

It's pretty simple. If you're hot, your pet is hot too. If your animal is pacing and can't get comfortable, or panting and won't drink get to the vet immediately.

"They can't sweat like we can. They do it through their mouth or paw pads. They don;t get relief like we do through the skin or mucus membranes, so they have a harder time expelling heat," said Dr. West.

Things you're used to doing have to change in the heat. Walks with your dog need to be shortened. Aim for the early morning or at night when it's cooler. Walking on asphalt can cause serious problems.

"We have shoes on, they don't. They do have a little cushion and tougher spots on their pads, but that is not enough when they are having to walk directly on hot surfaces," said Dr. West.

If you have outside pets, try to bring them in, even if it's just to the basement or another cool spot in your home. If you can't do that, they need access to shade and fresh, cold water at all times. Adding ice to their water bowl is a good option. those are a few simple changes that could help make sure your pet survives these dog days of summer.

Treatment for heatstroke includes ice baths, cold IV fluids. The process of bringing their temperature down has to be done gradually. Heat can kill an animal in a matter of minutes.