Pets vulnerable to extreme heat

July 21, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Few people were out Thursday in the blistering heat. Instead, they stayed indoors to keep cool. That also pertains to pets. Heat can be fatal to your pets if you do not find cool shelter for them and make sure they are hydrated.

Jim Smith walks his dog "Sparky"every day. He said he would be taking precautions Thursday to make sure Sparky stays cool during his 20-minute walk.

"When he gets hot I will take him in and make sure he is safe," Smith said. "He likes air conditioning."

"Tucker" is only five months old, and owner Jessica Sparrow wants him to get his exercise and be safe.

"We are just going around the block and that is it. He is a puppy and needs the exercise," said Sparrow.

Dogs do need their exercise. However, the Anti-Cruelty Society has their dogs and cats in an air-conditioned environment and recommends animal lovers take special precautions during this suffocating heat wave.

"Bring all animals indoors and walk your dog when the sun goes down," said Anti-Cruelty Society Vice President Nadine Walmsley. "Do not jog with your dog."

The Anti-Cruelty Society has had over 100 calls in the last three days about dogs in distress over heat.

"Make sure they have a cool place and a lot of fresh water...You want to look for rapid breathing, a reddened tongue, excessive drooling or panting," Walmsley said.

Montrose Dog Beach was busy Thursday with owners anxious to play with their dogs on the beach. It also appears the dogs played well together. Splashing around helps them to cools off.

Kenny Cole plays with "Pre Nup" at least five to six days a week at Montrose Dog Beach.

"He is going swimming. He will cool off and we will take him home," said Cole.

The Anti-Cruelty Society does not recommend taking your dog to the beach on the hottest days, but if you do, make sure they do not overheat.

Also be careful if you have a cat that likes to sit in the window-- they can become overheated. Remove them from the window during these blistering temperatures.

Make sure your pets have plenty of water, and even add ice cubes to their trays.

Dogs and cats are like people: They do become overheated, but unfortunately cannot speak out. The Anti-Cruelty Society says it is up to you to make sure you are responsible and keep your animals out of the heat.

If you see an animal in distress, immediately call 311 or take them to the vet or Anti-Cruelty Society.

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