DOG DAY AFTERNOONS: Experts offer tips on keeping pets cool when it’s hot outside | News

Animal advocates and pet owners are taking steps to ensure their furry friends are safe during the long spell of excessive heat in the area.

Cherokee County has been under a heat advisory for some time, and while humans know how to beat the heat, others are focusing on animals.

Amber Horn, a veterinarian at Lakeside Veterinary Services, said the initial signs that a dog is in distress due to heat are panting, drooling, and wobbling as it walks.

“As they get hotter, they actually quit panting and quit slobbering, and that’s the scarier part, when it gets to that point,” Horn said. “Eventually, they lie down because they have no energy to move.”

Certain breeds of dogs have more trouble handling heat than others: bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and Pomeranians.

“The ones that have smashed faces can’t breathe very well, anyway, and then go out and get hot, and then they really can’t breathe very well,” Horn said.

Pet owners are encouraged to keep their dogs groomed to help ease overheating.

“The heavy coat is not a problem unless they’re in the shedding stage when they haven’t been brushed out, so they have big clumps of hair, or matted fur. Most of the heavy-coated breeds are double-coated breeds and they do fine in the hot weather, “said Horn.

Pet owners should never shave off an animal’s fur as a means to relieve it from the heat.

“The coat is made in such a way that it ‘breaths’ and it lets air in underneath, as long as it’s brushed out and you don’t have any [matted fur] in there, “she said.

Horn said younger dogs that are used to being outdoors can handle the heat a lot better.

“If it’s a dog has any kind of medical problems, or if it’s an older dog or overweight, then it’s going to get heat stress a whole lot quicker and a whole lot easier outside,” she said.

A common misconception is that a doghouse provides adequate shelter, even though it does keep the animal out of the sun. Essentially, a doghouse can function as an oven during the summer months.

“There needs to be shade other than a doghouse, whether it’s shade from a tree or they way your house blocks the sun,” Horn said. “There has to be an area of ​​shade, no matter the time of day it is, because they’re going to be left out there.”

Ordinances have been put in place over the past five years mandating that animals left outside have adequate shelter, whether it’s hot or freezing.

Oklahoma City officials passed an emergency ordinance in February stating that dogs cannot be left outside for more than 30 minutes if temperatures dip below 32 degrees. Jon Gary, superintendent for Animal Welfare, said the move would ensure a humane community where animals were valued and protected.

According to Tahlequah City Ordinances, it is unlawful for a person to treat an animal in a cruel or inhuman manner, or knowingly neglect an animal.

Horn said the first thing to do when an animal is in distress due to heat is to get it cooled off, either inside where there is air conditioning, or getting it water. It’s imperative that dogs are not cooled off with ice water, as that could be dangerous.

Bryan Rigsby is the owner of two dogs and three cats, and he called them “Bougie-spoiled critters.”

“They have doors they can go in and out as they need or want to,” he said.

City of Tahlequah / Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Mike Underwood will always bring up animal care when it comes to weather reporting and predictions. He pushes pet owners to keep fresh food and water available.

“Take care of your pets and make sure they have plenty of water outside, and access to the water outside,” said Underwood.

The animals were given a PetSafe Drinkwell, a water bowl that keeps pets hydrated with filtered and fresh-tasting water. Rigsby posted a photo of the bowl filled with ice water on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.

“It keeps the water circulating and filtered, which the cats love, and our dogs couldn’t care less,” said Rigsby.

He was wondering if the water bowl was ideal for animals that spend more time outdoors during the days, and he said it all depends on the animals and how well pet owners keep the water and filter changed.

“If you’re not one to clean your pets ‘bowl on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be healthy for them, because although the water is being circulated, the filters will get dirty and cause bacteria. I clean our pets’ bowl weekly and change the filters every other week, “he said.

Horn also offered advice when it came to flea and tick medications for dogs and cats.

“Fleas and ticks like the heat, and they are very prevalent now. The best thing to do is find either a flea pill, a flea collar or whatever it is that works, and be consistent with it. If you get a flea pill that lasts 30 days, in 30 days you want to give them another one, “she said.

Cats in particular need tick control products, as there are fatal cat diseases associated with ticks: haemobartonellosis, tularemia, babesiosis, and cytauxzoonosis.

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