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What you need to know to keep pets safe in the heat

Veterinarians are warning people to be extra careful and take precautions to protect their furry friends from heat-related illnesses.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The summer heat can be uncomfortable for us, but it can be much worse for your pet.

Veterinarians are warning people to be extra careful and take precautions to protect their furry friends from heat-related illnesses. Heat stress and heat stroke can occur when pets lose their ability to control their body temperature.

"If that ability to pant and get rid of heat is not able to keep up with how hot it is outside (especially if there is any exercise or exertion that's involved), then their body temperature starts to climb and it can get to dangerous levels," said Dr. Edward Cooper, a professor within OSU's Department of Veterinary Clinical Services.

These are some signs to look out for in your pet via The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center:

  • Respiratory Distress - Difficulty breathing, excessive panting, loud breathing noise, purple-blue gums
  • Weakness or collapsing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

If your pet is experiencing a heat-related injury, you need to act quickly:

  • Move your pet into a cool environment
  • Bathe or hose down with room temperature, not cold, water
  • Get a fan on your pet
  • Provide access to cool drinking water
  • Take their temperature at the start and throughout active cooling measures. Stop active cooling measures at a temperature of 103°F

Here are some tips to protect your pet from the heat:

  • Limit your time outside and reserve long walks and play to early morning and evening hours
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a closed space or car, even with the windows cracked. Cars quickly exceed temperatures of 110°F
  • Always make sure your pet has access to plenty of water

For information on emergency and critical care services, click here.