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Here’s how to keep your pet from suffering heat exhaustion and disease-carrying pests

Brindle dog stands in green grass with ears standing tall, tongue out and tail pointed directly to the rear as the dog looks at the camera.
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Pets should always have a supply of cool, clean water to drink from, but especially when rising temperatures threaten heat stroke.

Increasing temperatures brings a heightened risk of heat stroke, fleas, ticks and other maladies. By being aware and taking some precautions, humans can protect their dogs and cats.

Limit outdoor time when temperatures climb above 80 degrees; always have cool water on hand and check to see if your pets' vaccinations are up to date.

Those are some of the tips from Madison Brown, marketing specialist at the Pet Resource Center of Kansas City,as the season of potentially dangerous hot weather approaches.

When it comes to taking your dog on walks in the summer, Brown says to first place your own hand against the asphalt to test the temperature.

“If you can’t hold your hand there for ten seconds, it’s too hot for your pet,” Brown said.

It’s best to walk your dog in the mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler, and to walk in the shade or grass if you opt not to clothe their paws in heat protectant booties. It’s also important to bring water on walks, not just for yourself, but also for your pet.

Supply clean, cool water for outdoor cats. A cat house with good ventilation and potentially a cooling mat is also recommended.

Excessive panting, drooling, lethargy and pale gums can be signs of heat stroke, and pets need to be cooled down right away, Brown said. She recommends an ice pack or a cold wash cloth applied directly to the animal’s paw pads and a visit to the veterinarian if possible.

Brown also advocates for vaccinating dogs and cats against fleas, ticks, and heartworms. When removing a tick from your pet, ensure that the entire insect is removed— including its head, which may initially be buried beneath the skin. You can save the tick in an empty bottle or plastic bag in case your pet becomes ill and you need to send the specimen for testing.

For dogs, Brown recommends the DAPP vaccine, which protects against multiple contagious viruses including the parvovirus. If left untreated, it has a mortality rate of approximately 90%.

  • Madison Brown, marketing specialist at the Pet Resource Center of Kansas City
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