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How to keep your pets safe with the high heat index

Columbia, Mo. (KMIZ)

Hundreds of pets die each year from heat exhaustion because they are left in hot vehicles, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. When temperatures outside reach 70 degrees, the interior of a car can reach over 100 degrees in minutes.

The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team issued a Weather Alert Day for dangerous, high temperatures as the heat index could potentially get up to 110 degrees Thursday. With temperatures that high, it is important to keep pets cool and indoors.

According to a press release, the Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Cruelty Task Force (HSMO) has responded to dozens of calls this summer about pets left in hot cars.

Another way to keep your pet safe is to avoid walking on the hot pavement. Practice manager at R Veterinary at Columbia, William Gadzinski, says that animals' paw pads will burn on the hot pavement. HSMO recommends testing the pavement on your hand. If it is too hot to keep your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, then it is too hot for a pet's paws.

Gadzinski recommends water play away from concrete and playing indoors with your pet to keep them active. He also advises that if you choose to walk your pet outside do it either very early in the morning or after the sun sets.

"I would try right as the sun's coming up or right before the sun comes up, and I know that's earlier than most people can get," Gadzinski said. "Also late in the evening might be okay too, as long as the sun's kind of gone down."

If your pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion, you can apply a cool towel to their neck or pour water on their abdomen and behind their hind legs.

"We do need to get them cooled down right away," Gadzinski said. "Ice baths can help, but we don't want to shock the system."

Signs of heat exhaustion can include heavy panting, upset stomach, and either pale or very red gums.

Article Topic Follows: Weather Alert Day
high heat
pet safety

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Grace Pankey


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