MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s not only people that can have serious health problems in the sweltering June heat.

Dogs may look happy with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, but don’t let the grin fool you- excessive panting or drooling is actually a sign of heat stroke. Our four-legged friends are as susceptible to heat stroke, dehydration and even sunburn as we are, and proper precautions should be followed to keep Fido safe.

Limit exercise to morning or evening outside the harshest hours of sunlight. Also keep in mind if it is too hot for you to go comfortably barefoot, it is too hot for your dog and the asphalt can burn your pet’s paws.

Never leave your pet unattended in a car and if you have to transport your animal in an open vehicle, be sure he is in a kennel that is tethered to a truck bed. Also be wary of spots or pools of auto-coolant because the sweet taste can attract pets but is poisonous.

Keep your pet well-groomed, as matted hair can retain heat. But don’t go crazy with the haircuts- your pet’s coat protects from sunburn. Also, mosquitoes can carry heartworm, so have your dog tested for the parasite and started on a preventative medication.

On really hot days, keep pets inside with air conditioning and water. If your pet must be kept outside be sure they have a place to sit in the shade as well as water in a tip-proof bowl. This ensures they won’t accidentally knock over the water and become dehydrated.

Be sure you are aware of the signs of overheating so you can immediately recognize them in your pet. The signs of heat stroke are: excessive panting or drooling, anxious or staring expression, fast pulse rate and high body temp which can lead to vomiting, staggering gait, non-responsiveness and collapse. As soon as you see any of these signs, immerse your pet in cool water or wet him with a garden hose then get your pet to a veterinarian immediately.


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