During this extremely hot weather it is vital to protect our pets from overheating.  This can occur very quickly and can be life-threatening.  For outside pets, SHADE  is vitally important.  A dog house does not count as most pets avoid these in warm weather due to the lack of air flow.  A sun barrier should be provide so the pet can lay in the shade and still have fresh air circulating about.  A suspended sheet of plywood or an old door works nicely for this purpose. 

Fresh, clean, cool waer is also necessary for proper cooling for our pets.  This too should be shielded from the sun and changed multiple times a day to keep it cool.  Cats and dogs do not sweat, they pant and exchange heat through evaporation from the moisture on their tongue.  Cool drinking water helps in this cooling process and also keeps them hydrated.

Minimize forced exercise.  This includes taking your dog for a walk, even a short one.  In this extreme heat very little exertion can soon overheat a pet.  Also included in this list would be visits to the dog park, playing frisbee, fetching a ball, etc.  Dogs that are driven to perform and play will overdo and can be suddenly overcome with heat stroke.  You must be very observant and vigilant to prevent this and make wise decisions for you pet.

If your pet becomes overheated, immediately move it ot a cooler place, preferably in an air conditioned area.  Cool the belly and the inside of the rear legs with cool water repeatedly and try to get air movement over the pet by using a fan.  BE CAUTIOUS TO KEEP ALL ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES AWAY FROM WATER/MOISTURE TO PREVENT ELECTRICAL SHOCK! 

In the event your pet collapses from overheating, THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY!  Take your pet immediately for professional veterinary treatment.  Dogs and cats can die or sustain permanent kidney or brain damage very quickly when overheated.  Do not delay!  If in doubt, seek help sooner rather than later.  Taking a “wait and see” attitude in this instance more often than not is fatal to your pet.

With vigilance and wise decisions we can help our pets through this extremely hot weather.  Check your pets often throughout the day and remain alert for any sign of heat stress.

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