Summer Heat Increases Risk for Dehydration in Pets, Warns Veterinarian

OCALA, Fla., July 20, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the Florida summer in full swing, pet owners need to be vigilant about protecting their pets from the heat, warns Ocala veterinarian Dr. Kelly Culbertson. Dehydration and heat stroke are two of the most common summer pet health emergencies, and both can be prevented with proactive care. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, staggering, fainting or loss of consciousness. Should pets exhibit any of these symptoms, Dr. Culbertson is urging pet owners to seek immediate emergency care.

Veterinarian Dr. Kelly Culbertson is sharing summer pet care tips to help pet owners better protect their pets from the summer heat. "Dehydration and heat stroke are very common summer pet emergencies, especially here in Florida," said Dr. Culbertson. "Keeping pets hydrated is the first step for preventing heat stroke."

If pets stay outside for a significant portion of the day, for example, Dr. Culbertson recommends that pet owners partially freeze their pet's water bowl. As the day progresses and the ice melts, pets will have consistent access to a cooling drink all day.

Summer pet grooming is also an easy way to help pets stay cooler, says the veterinarian. He recommends pet owners take their longer-haired pets to a professional groomer for a summer trim.

"At-home coat clipping can be dangerous, especially if pet owners over clip the coat," said Dr. Culbertson. "An over-clipped coat increases the risk for sunburn. I recommend pet owners use a professional groomer who will clip it to the correct length that is both cooling and still provides adequate sun protection."

Dr. Culbertson is also reminding pet owners not to leave pets in parked cars, even if they only run inside for a quick errand. Even on a cooler summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100 degrees in just over 15 minutes. The safest place for pets is always at home in air conditioning or with access to cooling fans.

"Don't forget about exotic pets, either," stressed Dr. Culbertson. "Just like cats and dogs, exotic pets like birds can overheat, too if they are trapped all day inside a room that is not sufficiently cooled."

Midday exercise can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Pet owners should avoid exercising their pets during the hottest parts of the day. Even a long walk or a short game of fetch can be taxing for dogs. Additionally, walking on the hot pavement or asphalt can burn a pet's paws. Dr. Culbertson recommends that pet owners adjust their schedule to exercise pets during the cooler early morning or evening hours.

"There's no escaping Florida's heat and humidity, but with a little planning and proactive care, pet owners can keep pets hydrated and healthy all summer long," said Dr. Culbertson.

For more information, contact the animal hospital.

CONTACT: Town & Country Animal Hospital, 1-888-667-5235Source: Town &Country Animal Hospital