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Hot weather puts pets at risk

When it comes to pets, owners will often do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

“Obviously, if it’s really hot, keep them inside,” said Brian Magee DVM at Madison Animal Care Hospital. “If that is not possible, make sure the pet has plenty of fresh water and plenty of shade.”

Magee said it is best to avoid exercising the pets during hot parts of day: early morning and late evening.

“Pets do not sweat like we do,” he said. “Dogs pant to cool themselves, and if it’s hot and humid outside, they could be at risk of heat stroke.”

Magee said certain breeds of dogs have more problems in hot temperatures  than others. He said dogs like bulldogs who have smashed faces don’t breathe as well as dogs with longer noses.

Charles Whitworth, owner of Whitworth Animal Clinic, Inc., said it helps to shave outside animals that have longer hair to help them battle the heat.

“As long as it is a pet that is use to staying outside, then in most cases, with proper shelter and fresh water available, they should be OK,” Whitworth said. “They do not need to be chained out because they could become excited and get tangled up and not be able to get out of the sun and heat.”

He said doghouses do not necessarily provide the best shelter.

“A lot of heat can get trapped in one and while they are out of the sun, they are not really cool in a dog house,” he said. “Shade trees, canopies and under decks porches provide better shade.”

Cats typically are more apt to take care of themselves, Magee said. He said they can overheat like dogs, but it’s not as likely because they don’t run around as dogs do.

Magee wards never to leave a pet in a car in the heat. He said while the number hans’t been great, he does usually see cases of overheated dogs around this time of year.

He said it is best to provide lots of fresh water and shade for your pet and everything should be OK.

A local dog, Maddie, tries to keep cool outside.

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