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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Pets should be remembered in hot summer temperatures

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dr. Becky Smith checks on "Pie."
SIKESTON - With Southeast Missouri not getting a break from the scorching temperatures, many residents have been taking precautions to avoid heat-

related illness for themselves and their children.

But it's also important to remember one's pets during the hot temperatures.

"You need to keep an eye on them," reminded Lanette Baker, interim director at the Sikeston Humane Society. "Make sure your dog has plenty of water - change it out during the day and make sure they have shade."

Pet owners should also avoid leaving their companion animals in the car with the windows rolled up, said Dr. Becky Smith, DVM at Animal Health in Sikeston.

Pets should also be provided with plenty of fresh, cool water and shade, she agreed with Baker. "Sometimes we even recommend providing outside dogs with a little kiddie pool so they can keep cool," Smith said.

Shaded areas can change throughout the day. An area with plenty of shade at 10 a.m. may be scorching later in the day, the American Humane Association advised.

Pet owners should be more cautious during the hottest part of the day, from noon to 3 p.m. "No walks or strenuous activity," Smith advised.

With the high temperatures and humidity levels, pets should be checked frequently during this time of year. While at work, pet owners should have a neighbor provide water and check on their animals. "That's an especially good idea right now," Smith said.

The same rules go for vacations. And if dog owners can't find someone to monitor their pet, veterinarians provide some other options. Animal Health has a 'Puppy Day Care,' which boards pets while their owners are at work or on vacation.

Some warning signs may indicate a pet is getting too hot. "Animals can't sweat, so they pant and drool," Baker said. Dogs who are panting hard or lying down drooling may be in danger, she said. Bloody diarrhea or vomit, an increased respiratory rate, and depression, stupor or coma can also indicate heatstroke, according to the American Humane Association.

In these situations, Baker and Smith said to contact a veterinarian immediately. The American Humane Association also suggested removing the animal from direct heat and spraying it with cool water or placing wet towels on the head, neck, chest, feet and abdomen, refraining from submerging them in water.

For these life-threatening conditions, there is 24-hour emergency care service, Smith said. Pets experiencing heatstroke will often stumble and fall and have extremely high temperatures, over 102 degrees, she added.

This is also the time to be sure pets are current on their vaccinations. Rabies becomes more evident at this time of year," Baker said. She recently saw a fox in Sikeston, as well as several squirrels and skunks, all which carry the disease.

"If you have a pet outside, especially a hunting dog, it may chase it (the animal with rabies) down and contract the disease," she said.

Pet owners should also watch for ticks on their pets, since animals can get Lyme disease, too, Baker added.

Since several kittens and puppies are born during this season, Baker reminded it is important to be sure no strays are coming near your pets. And people should also stay away from strays, since they can bite.

If people find a stray, they can fill out a found report at the Humane Society, located at 1900 Compress Road. Reports can also be filled out for lost pets. Baker encouraged those who have a lost pet to check with both local code enforcement and the humane society.

And while the Fourth of July fireworks can be fun and entertaining for children and adults alike, it's a different story for pets. If they are commonly upset by loud noises such as slamming doors or thunder, fireworks will probably be terrifying.

"With the large bangs of firecrackers, sometimes dogs get nervous and frightened, even vomiting," Smith said.

"A lot of fireworks scare dogs and they break their chains of leashes," Baker said. "It can also stress the animals out."

She and Smith advised bringing the dogs inside during fireworks shows, where they can't see them and the noise isn't quite as loud. "If you don't want them in the house, keep them in the garage or put them in a shed," Baker suggested, while Smith added Animal Health will board pets during the Fourth.

Pets should also be brought inside because some children will shoot fireworks at animals - both intentionally and accidentally - Baker said. To caution children about the dangers of this, she has been giving presentations about animal safety at area summer schools.

Anti-anxiety medicine can also be given to pets to calm their fears, Smith said. This is done in the form of pills, which cost between $10 and $25, depending on the size of the animal.