Dogs and cats have trouble with heat wave

July 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., July 21 (UPI) -- With the stretch of hot weather and high humidity baking much of the United States, animal experts warn the heat wave also affects dogs and cats.

North Shore Animal League America, in Port Washington, N.Y., reminds pet owners panting is an inefficient means of releasing heat and animals do not perspire as humans do.

"Therefore, they are more prone to feeling the effects of heat than we might realize. For animals, hydration and retreat from sunlight are essential," Gerard Laheney, a veterinarian at NSALA's Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, says in a statement.

Laheney also suggests the following in hot weather:

-- Never leave a pet in a car, the temperature can rise to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 10 minutes.

-- Never let pets drink water outside their water bowl, because fertilizer, rat poison, weed killer, swimming pool cleaners and antifreeze can make their way into pools of water in the yard or driveway.

-- Add ice cubes to pet water.

-- Dogs with light or white pigmented coats, hairless animals, animals with short haircuts, pets with allergies, or thinning coats can get sunburned. Minimize sun exposure, but if they will be exposed for longer periods, use sunscreen specifically labeled for pets.

-- Never use sunscreen for humans for pets because many have ingestion warnings for children apply to pets as well.

-- Certain breeds, Brachycephalics, Pugs, Bulldogs and others with pushed-in noses, plus animals with respiratory and cardiac conditions, are at an increased risk of heat stroke.

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