Tips to keep your pets safe during the dogs days of summer

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By Amanda Kitch | July 10, 2020 at 2:15 PM CDT – Updated July 10 at 6:12 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – If it’s too hot for you, chances are it’s also too hot for your pet.

“It affects animals, dogs and cats, just as much as it affects people,” said Dr. Nancy Welborn from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.

The assistant professor says hot, humid air can be unsafe for your pet. She says think about the way pets sweat, which is by panting.

“If they’re running in that super humidified air or that really hot air, they’re breathing in that 90 to 100° air, so they can’t cool off very well,” said Dr. Welborn.

Cool water and a shaded spot go a long way in making sure your pet is happy and healthy outside.

“Most dogs adapt to being outside just as long as they have areas to get away, get into shade, and make sure they have plenty of water,” she said.

Even if your pets are primarily indoors, you still want to make sure they have a chance to cool off after walks and exercise.

Also, watch out for hot pavement.

“If you’re concerned and wonder, ‘Wow, is this really going to hurt my dog?’ Put your hand on there and see how long you can stand holding your hand there,” said Dr. Welborn.

Cats and dogs can get blisters on the bottom of their feet if the pavement is too hot, so listen to your pet. They can’t exactly talk to you, but they can communicate how they feel.

“Pay attention to what your pet is showing you and stop to bring them back into cooler air,” she said.

Dr. Welborn says looks out for signs of distress, like heavy panting or whining, because your pet could be telling you they’re too hot, and don’t be quick to blame it on their fur.

“That hair acts as an air conditioner. Those levels of hair have a function,” she explained.

Many dogs are fine with long hair during the summer, so a summer cut isn’t always necessary. Just make sure there aren’t any fleas and ticks in their fur, as those pests are common in the summertime too.

One of Dr. Welborn’s biggest concerns during the summertime is leaving your pet in the hot car. She says before you lock your doors, turn to make sure your furry friend isn’t in there.

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