PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The temperatures are heating up in the Pine Belt and that means pet owners need to pay extra attention to their animals.
While many people take precautions against the extreme heat, you'll also want to make sure your pets are staying safe in the heat too.
Dr. John Mayfield, DVM, at Petal Animal Clinic says he has already had a case of severe heat stroke and it's not even summer yet.
"You would think, 80-something degrees, no way," Dr. Mayfield said. "But, we've had one heat stroke that came in, severely. 107 temperatures on the back porch, it just doesn't take long at all."
People cool down by sweating and dogs cool down by panting. But, Dr. Mayfield says you want to make sure that panting in controlled and doesn't get too excessive, leading to the dog having breathing issues. If your dog is panting, Dr. Mayfield says to touch the inside of your dog's mouth. If its hot, that may be a sign of heat exhaustion. If your dog appears dizzy and starts vomiting, that could be heat stroke.
"We recommend lots of fresh water, short outside trips and if they are a little plump, it's worse," Dr. Mayfield said.
Dr. Mayfield says breeds like "don't have a nose," like bulldogs or pugs, can develop heat stress much quicker. If you notice signs, you should cool your dog down immediately by bathing them in room temperature water or using a water hose.
It's not just the heat to worry about, but also the sun. Dr. Mayfield says dogs and cats with white fur are most susceptible to sunburns. He says he sees it most on a cat or dog's ears. "The skin is thin and the tissue is also thin, you just coat it with 50 sunscreen," Dr. Mayfield said.
You also want to pay attention to where you are walking your dog. Dr. Mayfield says a dog's paws are tougher than a human's foot, but hot surfaces could still be damaging. He said she sees burns when owners walk their dogs on highways or asphalt.
"Their walking with tennis shoes, the dogs walking barefoot. If you want to know how hot it is, take your shoes off and walk your dog," Dr. Mayfield said. "Anywhere you can walk, your dog can walk."
Spending more time outside at BBQ's or festivals could mean more animals around your pets, that could lead to ticks and fleas. Dr. Mayfield says it's important to take precautionary steps with medications to protect your animal from the bugs.
The most important tip from Dr. Mayfield is to always act when you are unsure about your pet's condition.
"Bring it to the veterinarian right then. Don't think, don't call.. come," Dr. Mayfield said.
Here are some more tips from the Humane Society of America:
- Watch the humidity
- Limit exercise on hot days
- Don't rely on a fan
- Provide ample shade and water
- Cool your pet inside and out, with things like cold water, ice cubes or pet-friendly popsicles