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Dogs and cats can't handle the heat like their humans can

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A woman walks two dogs on a curvy sidewalk next to the shade of a large tree.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
When temperatures rise, hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt can get hot enough to damage your pet's paws.

Dogs and cats can't cool themselves as efficiently as people, making them more susceptible to heatstroke.

With triple-digit temperatures forecast for the region, knowing how to prevent, recognize and treat heatstroke in your pet could save their life.

Elizabeth Easley of the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center said, even if your cat or dog is used to being outside, this is the time of year when it's a good idea to bring them inside where air conditioning is available.

Signs of heat distress in cats and dogs are being warm to the touch, dark red gums, disorientation, trouble standing or walking, and collapsing or, in advanced cases, experiencing seizures.

Easley also said irregular breathing is a symptom of heat distress. Cats, she said, shouldn't breathe with their mouths. Dog owners should watch out for heavy panting that doesn't slow down once the dog is calm.

Emergency first aid includes getting the animal into a cool environment and wetting their fur with room temperature or cool water. Avoid very cold water and ice, as those could chill your pet and cause its body to produce more heat. Finally, get the animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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