Preventing heat exhaustion for pets -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Preventing heat exhaustion for pets

WMBF First Alert Meteorologist Sean Bailey's dog Skye enjoying the beach. (Source: Sean Bailey) WMBF First Alert Meteorologist Sean Bailey's dog Skye enjoying the beach. (Source: Sean Bailey)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We've already seen temperatures this year climb into the 90s across the Pee Dee and Grand Strand, and that heat can hurt our friends with four paws.

Dr. Isabelle Ying, a veterinarian with Myrtle Beach Animal Hospital, sees several cases of pet heat exhaustion over the hotter months. She says signs of exhaustion start with irritation and excessive drooling, then your pet will become unsteady as temperatures heat up. Dr. Ying explains how a dog's body tries to cool down. 

"Humans are able to sweat to cool down and that allows us to use moisture on our bodies to dissipate the heat," Dr. Ying says. "Dogs cool down in a similar mechanism but because they aren't able to sweat, they're stuck to just using saliva on their tongues. The biggest aspects of a dog's cooling system is by panting, which makes them a lot less efficient cooling themselves down than we are." 

Dr. Ying also adds dogs that are overweight or ones with short snouts, such as pugs, are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion. This is because these breeds already struggle with breathing and panting. 

If you see your dog struggling with the heat, Dr Ying suggests placing the animal in shade and getting cool, wet towels to put on the back of their necks and under their legs.

In fact, Dr. Ying says temperatures 68 degrees and above can start to cause discomfort for dogs. While it depends on the breed and weight of your dog, Dr. Ying explains the symptoms of heat exhaustion. 

"Initially your pet will appear irritated, not being able to get comfortable, start panting a lot," Dr. Yings says. "As the body temperature increases, they'll start to drool excessively and become unsteady on her feet. Next step is you may notice her gums become bluish-purple in color to bright red in color and that's from an inadequate oxygen in her bloodstream."

She says heat issues can develop in a matter of minutes, especially if a dog is left in a car or out in the sun. 

Dr Ying also suggests making sure you touch the asphalt or sand before a walk. If it's too hot for you to touch, it's definitely too hot for a dog's paws. 

To keep your pet from having issues with heat, but still get their exercise in during the summer, it's best to walk them in the morning or around sunset when the temperatures start to cool down. 

What is it like for a dog or human in a hot car:

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