Tips, tricks to keep your pets safe during summer heat

KPTV file photo.

As temperatures rise, it’s important for pet parents to keep their four-legged friends safe and cool.

Dogs, cats and urban farm animals need special attention to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion, veterinarians warn.

This includes goats and sheep, rabbits, chickens, among others, DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital says.

“Understanding your pet’s limitations and taking extra precautions in warm weather may be the difference between a fun day in the sun and a trip to the emergency room,” the animal hospital says.

Veterinarians with the hospital say heatstroke can be deadly in dogs and cats if not treated quickly. Signs include panting, vomiting, warm and dry skin, collapsing, rapid heartbeat refusal to obey commands and/or staring or anxious expressions.

The animal hospital offers the following tips to help keep dogs and cats safe in extreme heat:

Never leave them in the car.

On a mild to hot day, temperatures in a closed car can exceed 120 degrees in minutes. Cracking a window or parking in the shade does not help.

Give pets extra water.

Hydration is crucial to avoid illness. Whether a pet is indoors or outdoors, fir their water bowls several times a day.

Protect their paws from hot surfaces.

If the pavement is too hot for your bare hands or feet, it is too hot for a pet’s paws.

Do not overdo outdoor exercise.

Oftentimes, dogs do not know when they need to take a break. Stop frequently for shaded breaks and offer plenty of water.

Take extra care with older dogs and dogs with shorter noses.

They are susceptible to higher temperatures and are at a greater risk of heatstroke,

Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog.

Sunburn can affect pets in the same way it affects humans and could lead to skin cancer. Use sunscreen on unprotected areas, like the tips of the ears, the skin around the lips and the tip of the nose. A sunscreen that is safe for babies is also safe for your pets.

Do not leave windows open while pets are unattended.

Pets are more likely to fall from windows when it is warm. Do not rely on window screens.

When in doubt, stay indoors.

Avoid spending long periods of time outside during the hottest time of the day.

While urban animals are more accustomed to changing outdoor temperatures, they still need assistance to remain cool and safe during extreme summer temperatures, DoveLewis says.

Here are tips to help keep them safe, as well as potential signs of heatstroke:

Goats and sheep Make sure they have plenty of access to clean, cool water. Check their water supply often and refill if needed. Make sure they have access to shade. If necessary, string up fabric, a blanket or a tarp to provide them with shade. If your goat is interested, mist or spray them with cool water. Start misting their legs first, rather than drenching their entire body at once.Signs of heatstroke in a goat or sheep include continual panting, rapid breathing and weakness or an inability to stand.

Rabbits If possible, keep rabbits inside on hot days. Keep a close eye on rabbits, especially older ones. They are very susceptible to heat stroke. Make sure they have plenty of access to clean, cool water. Make sure they have access to shade. If necessary, string up fabric, a blanket or a tarp to provide them with shade. Dampen the rabbit’s ears and body with cool water. Do not submerge the rabbit in water. Make sure their outdoor hutch is well-ventilated. Avoid handling your bunny as much as possible in extreme heat. This could lead to added stress. Place a refrigerated ceramic tile or piece of marble in their hutch. These stay cool for a while, and rabbits like to lie on them.Signs of heatstroke in a rabbit include reddening of the ears, panting, lethargy, salivating, reluctance to move, seizures or convulsing and poor response to a stimulus.

Chickens Make sure they have plenty of access to clean, cool water. Let them eat juicy fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and cucumber. This will also help them stay hydrated. Make sure they have access to shade. If necessary, string up fabric, a blanket or a tarp to provide them with shade. Provide an area with dry, loose dirt where the hens can take dust baths. They’ll wallow down until they reach cool soil. Make sure your coop is well-ventilated. Windows and open spaces help with air flow. Mist your chickens with cool water, or provide a gentle sprinkler system or misting system in their yard or pen area. Do not dump large amounts of water on them or submerge them in water.?Signs of heatstroke in a chicken include panting with wide open mouths continuously, pale comb or waddle, spreading wings away from the body, refusing to eat or drink, diarrhea, lethargy and seizures or convulsions.

Owners who suspect their pet may be experiencing heatstroke should call their veterinarian immediately.

In the meantime, owners can help lower their pet’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to a hairless section of the pet’s body, such as the tips and back of the ears, foot pads, belly and inner thighs. Use a fan to help cool the animal while they are wet and avoid completely immersing the pet in water.

For more weather coverage and updates, head to the FOX 12 weather page.

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