Pet Summer Safety

by Tashun Chism

Wanda Chaffin's dog Sassy is 11 years old.

And at Sassy's age, Chaffin knows it's important to keep her out of the heat.

"When she wants to go outside she lets you know. And she doesn't stay out in the heat. She does what she has to do and back to that door," Chaffin told us.

Sassy is an indoor dog, but veterinarian Doug Ashburn knows many people keep their pets outside.

"Some of the worst heat stroke cases we've ever seen have been on chained animals. You've got to really feel for those pets because they're in a situation where they can't get to water, they can't get to shade, and they're just at the mercy of the elements," Ashburn said.

Ashburn says if you plan on keeping your dogs outside this summer, you should give them plenty of water and avoid chaining them.

One of the biggest problems he sees is dogs that have been chained suffering from heat stroke.

"When an animal's body temperature goes up over 106 degrees, you start getting really serious tissue damage, brain damage, intestinal damage," said Ashburn.

Another common mistake many pet owners make is leaving their dogs in the car.

"If you take the dog shopping with you, don't ever, ever, look it up in a closed car. That'll turn into an oven really quickly," Ashburn added.

Unless you're just running a short errand where you can leave the windows down, it's best not to take your dog with you.

Ashburn also sees a lot of people with longhaired dogs trim their coats shorter for the summer time.

But trimming them too short can actually be more harmful than helpful.

"If you've got a light skinned dog be careful because dogs can get sunburn just like people can. So, if you trim the hair too short on them they can still get sunburn," Ashburn told us.