Protect Pets From The Summer Sun

People show obvious symptoms when they're sick from the heat - they stop sweating, get dizzy, and weak. Pets can also show signs of a heat-related illness - their gums turn white, they pant heavily and get sluggish.

Pets often get sick because of mistakes their owners make.

Dr. C.R. Shilling of the West Loop Animal Clinic said, "In my experience of heat stroke and dogs, I've seen a lot of dogs that are on chains. They'll get tangled up on that chain and cannot reach the shade. They spill the water and they're just left out there unattended."

Since many pets die from heat stroke this time of year, it's never a good idea to play with them outside in the heat of the day. And you should avoid leaving your pet outside without shade or shelter.

Dogs usually pant to cool off, but in extreme heat, panting won't do any good if they're left in direct sun or in a hot car.

Kim Frels of the Humane Society of Angelina County said, "Even ten minutes inside that store can be fatal to a dog, because the heat increases so fast inside that closed up vehicle, they actually smother to death. If you happen to see a vehicle with a pet in it, you do need to call the authorities so that they can locate the owner and save that pet before something bad happens to it."

Cats and dogs aren't the only animals that need relief from the summer sun. Horses and cattle are better adapted to hot temperatures because they can easily keep cool by finding a pond or some shade, but smaller pets need help from us.

"You need to provide it with shelter that has air flowing through it, because a shelter can sometimes hold heat," Frels said. "Another good idea, if you have dogs that you have in a fenced-in yard, is to get them a small wading pool so they can get in it and cool off, because they feel the heat just as well as we do."

If you can't keep your pet indoors, make sure there's plenty of shade in your backyard. You can also drop a few ice cubes in your pet's water.

Dehydration and heat stroke are both easily treatable if you get your pet to a veterinarian soon after they get sick.