Copperas Cove Animal Control and the Animal Medical Center of Copperas Cove already have seen several pets facing heat-related health issues this summer.
“We have already seen a couple of cases of heat stroke this year,” said Dr. Kelly Henton with the Animal Medical Center. “We have seen one (dog) that was definitely heat stroke and another that we strongly suspect was heat stroke. Both dogs were deceased.”
Animal Control has responded to pets being locked inside vehicles, which can be deadly this time of year, said David Wellington, senior animal control officer.
“If it is 70 degrees, the temperature in a vehicle will rise by 40 degrees in an hour, so you can imagine how hot it gets in the higher temperatures,” Henton said.
Wellington said animals should never be trapped in a vehicle, but it isn’t the only place animals experience heat problems.
“Heat stroke is difficult to treat, but much easier to prevent,” Henton said. “A good rule is, if you want to stay inside because it is too hot outside, your dogs probably want to be inside, too.”
Pet owners who don’t let their animals inside should make sure their dogs and cats have plenty of shade and fresh and clean water, Wellington said.
“A no-spill water container is the biggest thing; a bigger water container that most (pets) won’t knock over.”
Drinking water should be kept out of the sun, he said.
Another good tool for outdoor pets is to keep a baby pool of water available for the animals to get into, Henton said. Dogs will use the water to cool down.
Canines are very susceptible to the heat because they only sweat through their pads, which is very minimal, Henton said. Panting is how dogs cool down. Short-snouted breeds also have more problems breathing, causing them to be more susceptible to the heat.
“If there is anything that is affecting the dog’s airways, they can’t get rid of the heat,” she said.
For those who want to be active with their canines during the summer, Henton said they should run or hike with their animals during the cooler parts of the day. And just like people, they should be trained before long workouts.
“Don’t take them on the marathon if they haven’t been running in two years,” Henton said. Wellington said that water is especially important to exercising dogs. “Just take an extra water bottle for them and yourself. And take breaks every once in a while.”