How to keep pets safe and cool in the heat

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AUSTIN (KPRC/ KXAN) — It’s important for pet owners to know warning signs of heat stroke to keep pets safe during the dog days of summer.

Dogs don’t have the same ability to cool themselves as humans. While your body sweats to cool off, your dog’s pant is all they can do to try and release heat. They can also only sweat through their footpads and so even brief sun exposure can be life-threatening.

“When the humidity is high as it is, then it’s very hard for them to lose heat so they can overheat pretty quickly,” veterinarian Dr. Randall Gallagher says. “They’ll be panting, they’ll get very weak, may stumble around, then just get so hot that they collapse.”

VIDEO BELOW: Jim Spencer explains the dangers of walking your dogs on hot pavement

If your dog starts showing any of these symptoms, cool them down with water on their neck or under their legs. Soak a rag in cool water, use a garden hose or put the pup in a tub to keep them cool. However, Gallagher does not recommend using ice.

“Cool water works better than ice because ice tends to shut down the vessels because it’s so cold,” Dr. Gallagher says.

PETA issued guidelines and tips to ensure you’re keeping your pets safe:

  • Keep animals indoors
  • Never leave an animal in a hot vehicle
  • Avoid hot pavement
  • Never run with animals when it’s hot out

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