Helping pets beat the heat

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VAN ALSTYNE, Texas - Suzen Dennis cares for hundreds of dogs each day at Tailwaggers Country Inn. When temperatures start rising, she has an extra responsibility -- keeping them cool.

"If it gets above 85 degrees, we take precautions," she said. "The heat is a real problem for pets and we see a number of dogs and breeds that are extremely sensitive to the heat."

Veterinarians like Dr. David Tidwell at Texoma Veterinary Hospital say high temperatures aren't just uncomfortable -- they can be deadly to your pets. Cells can be irreparably damaged to the point that they cannot recover," Tidwell said.

There are only a few warning signs before heat stroke occurs. "The dog will start to act almost woozy like he's drunk," Dennis said. Then in worst case, they pass out. at that point they're in heat stroke."

Providing plenty of water is the first line of defense against the summer heat.

"Use an oversize bowl," Tidwell said. "It's always better to leave too much. make sure that it's full and they have plenty of cool, fresh water."

Dennis recommends buying a little play pool and putting that in a shady place where your pets can cool themselves.

Dennis also recommends a simple test to check for dehydration. "Pull up the skin and it should snap back like a rubber band would," she said. "If they are dehydrated, it will go down very slowly"

Finally, experts recommend limiting pets' outdoor time to cooler hours in the early morning and late evening. "I use ourselves as a gauge," Tidwell said. "If it feels excessively hot to us, err on the side of caution and bring your pet inside."

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