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    Veterinarian shares how to keep pets safe during heatwave

    By Taylor Castro,


    ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — During this week’s heatwave, it’s important to take measures to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. That not only applies to humans, but to animals.

    During this time of year, veterinarians see pets with heat exhaustion and treat dogs with burned paws. As humans, it’s crucial to watch for the warning signs.

    “A dog is not going to notice any of [the signs] or be able to identify that there’s a problem and by the time they collapse, they’re in bad shape,” said Dr. Patricia Holm, veterinarian and owner of Auburn Animal Clinic.

    Animals suffer from the heat earlier than humans do. When taking your pet outside, try to stay off of the pavement, especially during the warmest times of the day. It has a much hotter surface temperature and can burn their paws.

    “Try to stay over on the grass areas,” said Holm. “If you do need to cross the pavement, do it really quickly. Don’t be out there throwing a ball or asking them to keep going on that hot pavement because a dog will continue to please the owner and they’ll continue to go.”

    Your pet can cool off in the shade, but you’ll still want to keep fluids on hand.

    “Not only should you be taking water for yourself, but you should be taking water and have some type of a container that the dog can drink out of,” said Holm.

    It also doesn’t hurt to bring some ice packs. Dogs only sweat on their paw pads, so it’s harder for them to cool down once their temperature goes up.

    Never leave your pet in the car. It only takes a few minutes for the situation to become life-threatening.

    “The only way they can cool off is by panting and by drinking cool things then panting more,” said Holm. “If they’re in a vehicle and they don’t have anything to drink, they’re sitting there panting. They’re just going to get hotter and hotter and it’s going to happen much faster with the panting dog than with a human.”

    If you have an animal that is too hot, you need to cool them off slowly.

    “You want to start more on the limbs, the extremities, the outer parts of the body, then work your way in. Maybe place cold packs around them or cool rags on the head. You never want to dump cold water on their head because that can put them in shock,” said Holm.

    Try to go for walks before sunrise, walk on grass, and in shaded areas. Check your pets’ paws for burns, blisters, or redness.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to MyStateline | WTVO News, Weather and Sports.

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