Keep your pets safe in extreme heat

Dane County Humane Society is reminding pet families that they need to take extra care to keep their furry friends safe in the extreme heat.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:21 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County Humane Society is reminding pet families that they need to take extra care to keep their furry friends safe in the extreme heat.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are still homes and businesses that are without power after Monday’s severe storms.

Without power, it can be more difficult to keep pets cool, but DCHS Public Relations Coordinator Lisa Bernard said giving them plenty of water and keeping blinds closed can help.

“Making sure they have plenty of water because part of it is also keeping hydrated, so that’s going to be refilling their bowls a lot or even putting more bowls out or even cups,” Bernard said. “Then also making sure you keep your blinds and drapes closed because that helps to keep it cooler.”

Bernard recommends if your house is already feeling cooler, do not open windows, because it will let more humidity inside. If possible, she suggests going to a basement or lower level in your home to find the coolest space for your pet.

Additionally, using sprinklers or a kiddie pool can be a fun way for your pet to exercise and stay cool, according to Bernard.

“Turn on a sprinkler for them, or if you have a kiddie pool that they can play in and jump in, just make sure that you are hanging out because they’re like kids. They can slip and get injured too, so you want to make sure you’re monitoring their activities,” Bernard said.

Bernard said it is still important for pets to exercise, but it’s important to time exercise differently so they aren’t going out when the sun is at its fullest.

She recommends going early in the morning or later in the evening, when it is cooler. Walks may need to be shorter and taken on different paths as well.

“Walking more on grass rather than the sidewalks because I think we sometimes forget that our pet friends don’t have fur on their whole bottom of their paws. They actually have skin, so it’s gonna burn like if you burn your finger or like if you step out onto a very hot sidewalk without any shoes on,” Bernard said.

Finally, Bernard said you should never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.

“I know sometimes people think, ‘well, I’ll just leave my air conditioner on in the car,’ but when you leave your car, it’s very easy for your animal to step on different items and possibly turn something off,” Bernard said. “You don’t want to risk it.”

If pets are exposed to extreme heat, it’s also important to watch for signs of heatstroke.

Bernard said their panting is going to become much more excessive, and you will likely see more drooling. Their heart rate will go up, so it’s important to monitor for seizures.

If your pet starts to show these symptoms, Bernard said to contact your vet right away.

“The less time you keep them out in those hot spaces, the better,” Bernard said.

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