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Protect Your Pet from the Heat!

Summer months bring heat and fireworks

(Chillicothe, Ohio, July 1, 2014) – As millions of Americans head into the Holiday weekend, and hotter weather,it’s important that pet owners keep their pet’s safety in mind.

While families love to watch the colorful fireworks displays, often this is very stressful for a pet. Here are a few quick tips to keep your pet happy and healthy during the summer months:

1. Leave your pet at home during the fireworks festivities: Unfamiliar crowds and noises can be frightening for a pet. The best place for your pet is at home. If you do bring your pet, make sure it has all of the proper identification (tags, microchip).

2. Keep your pets away from fireworks: Fireworks can pose a danger of burns and trauma for a curious pet. Keep them away from fireworks, sparklers and glow jewelry (which could be accidentally chewed and ingested.)

3. Be careful keeping the bugs away: Citronella and Insect repellents can be toxic to pets. Keep them out of reach and only treat your pets with products specifically designed for canine use.

4. Avoid feeding Fido table scraps: With all of the backyard cookouts, it’s easy to slip your pet a treat. Instead, make sure you have some healthy pet treats available so your pet doesn’t feel left out. Especially keep pets away from coffee, alcohol, chocolate, onions, avocado, grapes and raisins.

The heat, however, is the biggest threat for pets during the hot summer months.

“Every year, thousands of pets die from overexposure to heat. It’s usually because their owners leave their pets in cars while they shop or run a quick errand,” said Brian Winslow, director of Animal Welfare Education for Petland, Inc. in Chillicothe, Ohio. “It doesn’t have to be extremely hot outdoors for a pet to suffer heatstroke inside a car.”

According to Petland, leaving a pet inside a closed automobile for just 10 to 20 minutes is risky on an 80-degree day as temperatures can quickly rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit inside -- enough heat to kill a pet. With recent sweltering heatacross the nation, it is even more imperative to protect your pets from therisk of heatstroke. Even 10 minutes inside a hot car is enough to cause exhaustive heatstroke in cats and small dogs. Rabbits, hamsters and birds have even less of a chance for survival.

Heatstroke in a pet is easy to diagnose early on. Some first signs are quite visible. They include excessive panting, salivation and a racing pulse. The pet alsowill have a high body temperature and may vomit. In latter stages of heatstroke, the pet lapses into a coma. At this point, the pet can suffer brain damage and die.

When a pet experiences some of the warning signs of heatstroke, it may be too risky tojust drive the pet to a veterinarian.

“At Petland, we always advise trying to lower the pet’s body temperature on the way to the vet,” Winslow said.

Submerging a pet’s body in cool water or pouring cool water over its body can help. Ice packs, if available, can be used to lower body temperature, too. Pet ownersalso should rinse the pet’s mouth with cool water, offering ice chips or very small amounts of water to drink. It is best to keep cool water or cold packs on the heat-exhausted pet until reaching the veterinarian. The medical professional can then take a temperature reading and thoroughly examine the pet.