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Keeping your pet cool

Posted August 14, 2013 in Advice Column, Downtown

We are in the middle of summer, and it is important to be thinking about your pet and this heat.

First, dogs cool themselves differently from people because dogs do not sweat. Instead, the majority of their cooling is by panting, but they also lose some heat from their paws. Also, a dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 103.0 F. If a dog’s body temperature gets above 105 F, then it is considered to be a true emergency.

Dogs do not cool themselves as efficiently as people do, so they can easily become overheated if care is not taken. For example, do not leave your pet unattended in the car, ever. Also, exercise in the morning, before it gets hot outside. And make sure than there is plenty of shade and water available outside for your pet.

If your pet is becoming overheated, you may notice that it is panting excessively, drooling a lot, is unsteady while standing and walking, and possibly has purple/gray gums. If you see these signs, it is important to call your veterinarian, remove your pet from the heat and put it into the shade or AC immediately. If possible, direct a fan onto your pet. You may also use damp and cool towels and place them on the groin, feet and neck areas to help cool them. It is important to never submerge your pet in cold water.

We at Ingersoll Animal Hospital hope that you and your pet have a safe and fun summer.

Information provided by Dr. Nancy T. Peterson, DVM, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 274-3555.

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