With multiple heat warnings and air quality statements issued across Saskatchewan in the last 24 hours, it’s important to look after every member of the family, including pets.
Jennifer Kaye, assistant manager at the Battlefords Humane Society, explained what can happen to our four-legged friends when it comes to extreme heat and low air quality.
“The biggest thing that can happen is heat stroke,” she said. “It has a serious effect on animals. It makes them restless and agitated, increased heart rates, [and] breathing distress also with the heat and smoke.”
When making sure they’re safe, Kaye said there are specific symptoms to watch out for to make sure pets stay happy and healthy.
“Panting, drooling, red or pale gums,” she listed. “A bright red tongue, breathing distress, increased heart rate, dizziness, weakness, signs of mental confusion, collapsing or laying down, and little or no urine production.”
When these symptoms begin, she said the first thing to do is move the animals indoors, but you should also get in touch with a vet clinic and get your animal checked as soon as possible. There are other simple steps which can be taken during the summer months to keep pets safe, she added, such as additional grooming to minimize overheating risk. Making sure that they have the right environment is also extremely important, Kaye said, including access to shade and clean water.
“If you can, get a kiddie pool or mist the animal or set up a sprinkler throughout the day," she said. "With that, make sure they aren’t getting skin infections with the water combined with the heat.”
With the combination of the heat warning and the poor air quality, she said it's even more imperative to make sure animals stay safe. The two issues go hand in hand, and it makes it harder for the animals to breathe, making them more susceptible to heat stroke.
Even though dogs love to eat ice cubes, Kaye said that may do more damage than most people think and should be avoided.
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