COLUMBIA - A veterinarian at MU Veterinary Health Center said she has started to see more animals come in due to injuries from high temperatures.
“Sometimes it's later in the summer but this year, it seems like the heat waves are happening a little earlier in the year, so we are starting to see these situations happen,” Alisa Hutchison said. “But the risk is there all the way through even to the early fall.”
Hutchison said the main thing to keep in mind for pet safety is to never keep an animal in a car in the summer.
“Summer, temperatures can get upwards of 20 to 30 degrees hotter than it actually is outside, inside a car,” Hutchison said. “Even with the windows cracked, you should never have an animal in a car when it's summer.”
She also emphasized that older dogs, flat faced dogs, furrier dogs and dogs with darker hair are at a much higher risk for a heat stroke.
KOMU 8 talked to some dog owners at Twin Lakes dog park on how they keep their pets cool in the heat.
Dog owner Ben Humphreys said letting his dog Goose swim is how he keeps her cool.
“The main thing I let her do is swim as much as she wants in the summer, she’s a Labrador so she likes to swim,” Humphrey said. “Grindstone Park is another off-leash dog area that has a creek and she swims in that.”
Another dog owner, Ian Chang, says he tries to take his dog out in the early mornings and evenings and tries to stay out of the sun when it's at its peak.
“Try to keep them cool, let them play in the lake or creeks as much as possible to cool them down and Give them as much water,” Chang said. “Keep them off the pavement because that pavement gets really hot and can be very bad for their paws so keep them in the shade but also let them run as much as possible and give them as much love and attention they deserve.”
Signs of animals being overheated or facing heatstroke would be heavy breathing that show respiratory distress, not normal panting but rather labored breathing, Hutchison said.
“Sometimes they can collapse or have a really elevated heart rate,” Hutchison said. “Sometimes you can feel bounding in the chest, their tongue may get purple or kind of a bluish color. Their eyes may get really bloodshot and those would be reasons they should be seen immediately.”
If you start to see those signs, grab some cool towels and lay them over the head and neck region and maybe in the groin area, to try to facilitate cooling, Hutchison said.
“Also offer little ice cubes for them to lick on, small amounts of water and then you may want to cool them with some cool water, not freezing cold water to start to take the temperature down at a slower rate and then immediately get them to the veterinarian,” Hutchison said.
For more information on how to keep your pets safe this summer visit The Humane Society of the United States.