Heat stress and pets

EDWARDSBURG The dog days of summer are upon us, and with many parts of Michiana experiencing a heat index of 90 degrees and above, now is the time to recognize the signs of heat stress.

The Center for Disease Control says profuse sweating, nausea and dizziness are all signs of heat stress in humans. The CDC recommends avoiding too much sun and drinking a lot of water. People who experience those symptoms should also wear loose clothing and spend time in air conditioning.

While people can easily identify signs of exhaustion or stress, it can be harder to determine when pets are distressed. An area vet says excessive panting, drooling and weakness are all signs of heat stress.

"They like to run and get involved and have all sorts of activity but they are not prepared for those rising temperatures," said Dr. David Visser, from the Center for Animal Health. "They can get heat stress. The body temperature rises and of course they pant to get rid of all this heat."

Cats are not immune to heat stress. Dr. Visser says indoor cats should not be outside during extreme heat, and like dogs, they need access to water. Cats sweat through their paws, so they show distress by panting, excessive grooming and sweaty feet.

For more information about heat stress, visit the Center for Disease Control website.

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