Vets Give Advice to Keep Dogs Safe in Extreme Heat

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COLUMBIA - MU veterinarians said Thursday they are seeing many more heat-related visits to the animal hospital during long stretches of excessive heat in the summer.

Ryan Reynolds, a local dog owner, said he makes sure his dog always has water available to keep him cool.

"[I've] just [been] keeping him hydrated, letting him go swim when he wants to," Reynolds said. "He always has a bowl of water, a fresh bowl of water."

Dr. Marie Kerl, an MU vet, recommended a list of ways to make sure your dog stays cool this summer:

1) Limit time outside

2) Have water available at all times

3) Let dogs out early morning and late night so they can get more exercise than they will during the hottest times of the day

4) Don't walk dogs on asphalt or sidewalks during the hottest times of the day; the ground gets very warm and can burn their paws.

According to Kerl, the most common symptom of heat exhaustion in dogs is lethargy. Other signs are excessive panting and lying down on cool surfaces like grass or laminate tile.

Kerl said dogs that live indoors will struggle more with the heat than those that live outdoors. House dogs should stay indoors any time they aren't relieving themselves and outside dogs should have shelter or fresh water or, if possible, also come indoors. 

The best cooling method, according to Kerl, is to use cool water to bathe the dog. Wetting the coat down, especially their abdomen and legs, is the most effective way to lower dogs' temperature.