Pets, like people, need shade, water to beat heat – July 29, 2006

Pets, like people, need shade, water to beat heat

Web-posted July 29, 2006

Of The Oakland Press

PONTIAC – When temperatures are sky-high, doctors warn people to drink plenty of fluids and try to stay inside or in the shade as much as possible. Pets should do the same. “Especially with the high humidity, they say it (heatstroke in animals) can happen in as quickly in 10 minutes,” said Pam Porteous, manager of the Animal Care Network, a group that provides food, water and shelter to outdoor animals in Pontiac.Network volunteers have picked up 20 cats and kittens and 10 dogs that were dead or dying from heatstroke in the last month. They’re worried about seeing an increase in cases over the next few days.

The average high temperature today in Oakland County is forecast to be between 88 and 92 degrees, said Dave Gurney, meteorologist for the National Weather Service forecast station in White Lake Township. Sunday gets hotter, with highs between 90 and 94 degrees. Monday’s forecast calls for highs between 92 and 96 degrees, and temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach 91-95 degrees.

Heatstroke occurs when the body overheats. In animals, symptoms include excessive panting, restlessness and disorientation.

Porteous said outdoor animals should be taken inside. If they are outside, they and their doghouses need to be in a shaded area. Animals should not be walked when it’s this hot, she said.

Bowls should be filled with cool water at all times. Ice cubes can help. And, water dishes should be put in places where an animal couldn’t accidentally knock them over.

If a dog is showing signs of being overheated, it should be cooled down slowly. Porteous suggests rubbing cool – not cold – water on the pads of its feet, stomach and around its face. It should be taken to a veterinarian.

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