OTTUMWA — Imagine walking barefoot outside on the burning pavement. Now, imagine how your pet feels.
Owners can walk their furry companions on hot pavement, not realizing the impact heat can have on their paws. According to Petcube, a company dedicated to petcare and safety, said furry companions are more likely to develop injuries, skin and ear infections and heat stroke.
Dawn Hauck, manager of Noah’s Ark Animal Foundation and Josh Steele, manager of Heartland Humane Society gave tips for ensuring animals are safe during the summer heat.
Hauck said owners must ensure they provide their pets freshwater indoors and outdoors. She also said owners should check the paws of their pets before walking them.
“If it’s too hot for humans to be outside,” Hauck said, “then it’s too hot for animals.”
Hauck also said if owners must take their animals outdoors, then they should provide shade. She also gave another suggestion for keeping pets cool.
“I suggest owners wet a towel and put it on their dog,” she said.
Steele said owners who love to exercise outdoors with their pets should wait to exercise with pets at cooler temperatures.
“Don’t walk, run or hike with a dog during the hottest parts of the day or on particularly warm days,” Steele said. “Take frequent breaks and bring enough water for both you and your pet.”
Steele also said overweight pets and short-nosed dog breeds have higher risk of problems with warm-weather exercise.
At Noah’s Ark, Hauck and her team keep their own animals cool by keeping them indoors if possible and providing them with snacks. She also encouraged owners to try this approach.
“We have indoor and outdoor kennels,” she said. “We’ve been keeping them inside. We freeze a Kong, a rubber dog toy, and put peanut butter on it. This is another way to cool them down. They can use their taste buds and eyesight.”
Steele said parasites are more common during the summer months.
“Fleas, ticks, and heartworm are typical during the summer,” he said.
Steele occasionally hears of owners who leave their pets inside vehicles. He said owners should not leave pets inside cars.
“Never leave a pet in the car, even in the shade or with windows cracked,” he said. “Cars can overheat quickly to deadly temperatures, even when the weather isn’t severe.”
Steele said owners should seek veterinary care if they observe their pets are overheated.
“You should seek help, if you notice anxiousness, excessive panting, restlessness, excessive drooling, unsteadiness, abnormal gum and tongue color and collapsing,” he said.