AUSTIN (KXAN) - As Central Texas endures a historical two-week heat wave, experts say pet owners should be aware of serious problems triple digits days can cause.
The combination of heat and no rain can be a breeding ground for fleas. The blood-sucking insects are desperate for food, and pets can make the perfect meal.
"Dryness is going to drive them to more central points," said Brenda Elrod, environmental health expert. "It's going to drive the animals to water sources, so squirrels in your backyard, dogs in your backyard, they're going to be looking at those fellas to feed off of."
Fleas can bite an animal up to 200 to 300 times a day, and it doesn't take much for them to move inside the house. Veterinarians said killing them at the source is key.
Local vets also said there is a point when it is too hot to take your pets outside.
"I really wouldn't go out if it was in the upper 90s," said Dr. Jennifer Renner with the AM/PM Animal Hospital in South Austin. "I would do it either early morning when the sun is just coming up or late evening when the sun is just going down. Middle of the day is definitely really difficult for the pet."
Dogs do not sweat and the only way they cool down is by panting.
Renner said so far this year, three dogs have already come in to the animal hospital suffering from heat stroke. Two of them did not survive.
Trouble signs to look for:
- lagging behind when walking
- excessive panting
- a bright red tongue
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