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Keeping an eye on pets in Montana's summer heat

Keeping an eye on pets in the summer heat
Posted at 10:00 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 12:00:33-04

HELENA — It's not just people that need to be worried about the sweltering heat, but their furry friends as temperatures are tipping triple digits in some parts of Montana.

Summertime is the perfect time to get out with your dog, but avoiding walking on hot pavement or asphalt during the heat of the day is crucial to keeping dog paws healthy says Lewis and Clark Humane Society's dog coordinator, Rebecca Howard.

"If you put your hand down on the pavement, and it feels hot to your hand, it's going to be hot to their feet. A lot of dogs get blisters on their paws and get burns from walking on the cement," said Howard. "It's a great idea to choose to do walks early in the morning or late in the evening, or going to [a park] where you can get out on the grass and keep it completely off the pavement."
Howard also recommended leaving animals at home when going shopping, instead of leaving them in the car. A stopped car without air conditioning running can go from 95 degrees to over 110° in 10 minutes according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

"It gets really hot in cars really, really quickly. It gets really hot in the back of trucks really quickly, whether they're in a kennel, or they're free, or there's a topper, it gets really hot in there," said Howard.

Much like humans, staying hydrated is key, and supplying clean, fresh water for pets is a necessity. While it may seem helpful, ice water isn't always conducive to keeping a pet cool, but rather wetting them lightly and allowing the water to evaporate and cool them down is a better way to cool them down.

"The evaporation can help to cool them off, because like fans work with us because we sweat, so it cools us down in that way. Whereas dogs don't sweat, and so doing just a little bit of water on their coat, just a little bit, can help with that evaporation," said Howard. "If your dog is starting to show signs of heatstroke. Don't submerge them in freezing cold water as well. It's best to contact a veterinarian immediately."