Monitor your pets for heat exhaustion or stroke

By Amanda Ward - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When the heat index rises, it's not only uncomfortable, but deadly for you and your pets.

"People are hot. So are their dogs. I would encourage a lot of fresh water, and changing it a lot throughout the day.  Also a fan, if they are outside. But, make sure the wires are not accessible to the dog or near its water. You don't want any electrical problems," said Calcasieu Animal Services Director, Rita Cavenaugh.

Cavenaugh is concerned by the number of calls this summer involving animals suffering as the temperature rises.

"Animals are dying of this heat," she said. "If you can move it inside. Move it inside,"

If you can't, "it must have fresh water," she repeated. "Cold water. And, lots of it, maybe an ice block," she added.

Dogs need shelter from the heat preferably in a shady area. A dog house in the sunshine is like an oven.

"If you believe your dog is having a heat stroke, you want to get it cooled down as much as possible. Use a hose. And then get it to a vet quickly," said Cavenaugh.

Dogs don't sweat like people do. They blow off heat by panting. Watch for that.

"Watch for heavy panting. There are other symptoms similar to those a person would have when suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but heavy panting is the first sign," she said.

Other serious signs include dizziness, restlessness, bleeding or bruising of the gums, or collapse.

With several deaths on her hands, Cavenaugh says they are cracking down on dog owners that don't protect their pets from the heat.

"Should we find a dog in this situation, we will first of all get the dog some water then we'll be writing citations. We always want to educate pet owners on how to care for their animals. But, we will write citations. And, if the person has no regard for the animal, we'll gladly take it off his or her hands," she said.

Also, pay close attention to your dog when walking together. The concrete can burn their feet pads. It's best to go for walks during the coolest parts of the day like early morning or late evening.

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