Preventing heat distress - for even the most cautious dog owners - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Preventing heat distress - for even the most cautious dog owners

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - While people across the Valley battle the heat this summer, hot black tops and the blazing sun can exhaust your furry friends a lot quicker than you.

Experts say even the most cautious dog owners can forget some important things.

Some might not know, for example, that dogs have a resting body temperature of about 101.5, so if you're feeling hot remember your dog is three degrees hotter.

"Rapid, shallow breathing, tongue hanging out, and just uncomfortable," said Dr.Hank Hall, owner of Northside Animal Hospital in Columbus off Veterans Parkway.

While we can see these symptoms in ourselves at times during Alabama and Georgia summers. it's not as easy with our furry friends.

Some panting is normal, but experts say you should look out for these red flags that show your pooch may be experiencing dangerous heat sickness:

  • Flared tongue, sticking out longer than normal
  • Hunting for shade or reluctance to continue walking
  • Big pupils, and inability to see the color of your dog's eyes
  • Bright red gums.

"Exercise them earlier in the morning, or later in the evening. Same thing with feeding, they're hot, we have a lot of reports that dogs go off food, they don't want to eat," said Dr.Hall.

These issues are avoidable if you make some changes in your dog's daily routine. Vets at the Northside Animal Hospital say be vigilant on walks if your pup needs a rest.

Also, consider a kiddy pool for outdoor cool-offs, keep fresh water always available, and try to find cool shady grass to walk on.

"Remember their paws are right down on that pavement. Paws can get burned and very irritated, maybe blistered," said Hall.

If your furry friend is extra furry and still struggling to battle the heat, you also might want to talk to your vet about a new hair-do.

"They're like wearing some winter jacket on, but by getting that hair off it allows that skin to not be quiet as hot," said Hall.

Another thing to remember this summer is that more parasites and bugs are out and about. This can dehydrate your dog, and a dog in distress cannot handle the heat as well.

How are you keeping your pets cool this summer? Send us pictures of your pets to pix@wtvm.com. Click here to view a slideshow of pets enjoying the summer sun!

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