Pets can beat the summer heat with easy safety tips

- The summer heat in the Bay Area could be unbearable for humans after a period of time, and the same could be said for pets.

It’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity. Dogs and cats pant to release some of that hot air, and relieve some of the moisture from their lungs. It’s a natural method that works for the heat, but not necessarily the humidity.

“People need to keep in mind that if it’s hot for you, it’s definitely hot for your pets,” explained Lauryn Postiglione with the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center. “Cats and dogs cannot sweat like we do, which is why they pant.”

She offered the following symptoms and signs of overheating pets:
-    Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
-    Drooling, mild weakness, stupor or collapse
-    Seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit
-    Elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees

Some pet safety tips during the summer include:
-    Plenty of fresh, clean water
-    Make sure they have a shady place
-    Don’t over-exercise them, stay indoors when it’s extremely hot
-    Trim longer hair, but never shave your dog
-    Brush cats more often
-    Don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt

“If you touch (the asphalt) with your palm and it’s too hot for you, it’s going to be too hot for their feet,” Postiglione said.

In 2016, Florida lawmakers made it legal to for passersby, who see an animal left in a hot car during the summer or even the heat of the spring, they can do the following:
-    Check to make sure the vehicle is locked
-    Have a reasonable belief that the pet (or even a person) is in imminent danger
-    Use only the necessary amount of force to break in
-    Cal 911 before or immediately after
-    Remain with the person or pet until first responders arrive

Experts say it could take up to 15 minutes for a pet to die from heat stroke. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car – with the windows cracked -- can reach 102 degrees within two minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature could reach 120 degrees.

For additional tips, click over to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website.

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