HEAT WAVE: Nyssa vet advises keeping those pet paws off the pavement

Kids camping at Lake Owyhee State Park on Saturday, June 26, bring their chihuahua out for a walk once the sun starts setting and the ground has cooled off. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

As Malheur County heads into the dog days of summer, don’t forget about pet safety during the current heat wave.

Your furry friends require the same attention in the heat as humans do, so it’s important to keep them in cool places, make sure they’re hydrated, and watch for signs of heat stroke.

And of course, never leave them in a car.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a car parked in 90-degree temperatures can register an inside temperature of 110 degrees within 10 minutes. Within 20 minutes, that can go to 120.

Such temperatures can cause irreversible organ damage or death. Studies show leaving windows open a bit doesn’t help, according to the veterinary association.

If you see signs of heat stroke in an animal, call a veterinarian immediately.

Dr. Emily Griswold, associate veterinarian at Treasure Valley Veterinary Services, said if you have to take your pet outside, make sure it’s not for too long. Hot pavement can also burn paws, so try to take walks early in the morning or late at night.

During the day, socks or booties work to provide protection.

Griswold also advises to make sure pets have access to cool, clean water all day.

“Don’t let that bowl run dry,” she said.

And if you don’t have access to air conditioning for your pet, make sure there’s at least air flow or a fan.

If your animal is suffering from heat, Griswold said to “focus on getting them cooled down first and foremost.” Take them to an air-conditioned area, and spray them with room temperature, water.  You can also place cool washcloths on their paw pads.

“Dogs are going to be hot and pant, and that’s to be expected. But if you see their behavior change, like they’re struggling to breathe or acting lethargic, those are signs of heat stroke,” said Griswold.

Griswold said her clinic treats about five cases per year of heat stroke, but with the record-breaking temperatures to come, she will not be surprised if that increases.

News tip? Contact photojournalist Angelina Katsanis at [email protected]


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