'If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your pet'

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JANESVILLE - As the weather continues to heat up, the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin has tips to make sure pets have as much fun as their owners this summer.

First things first, adoptions manager Amber Pinnon said pet owners should do a spring/summer check up with their veterinarians for heart worm prevention and testing.

"Make sure to get that done when the weather is warmer and your animals are out longer," Pinnon said.

Owners should keep in mind that their furry friends get dehydrated quickly and need fresh water multiple times per day.

"They drool a lot into the water, so you want to make sure it's enticing for them," Pinnon said.

The animals also shouldn't be over-exercised. Pinnon said this is especially important for animals with flat faces - such as pugs, bull dogs and Persian cats - because they can't pant as effectively.

Even when pets are inside the house, making sure they have shade and a colder place to rest is important. Pinnon said even if people feel comfortable, they have to remember that each pet also has a coat of hair.

She adds that while some well-intentioned dog owners may think shaving their dog will help them cool off in the summer heat, that might not always be what's best for the canine. For example, huskies have an undercoat that's meant to help cool them off. Pinnon asks residents to check with their veterinarians before shaving their dog.

She reminds owners to never leave their pets in the car for any amount of time, because doing so could lead to a pet having a lethal heat stroke.

"Even if you leave an animal for five minutes in the car while you run inside, the car's temperature can soar in the sun," Pinnon said.

Knowing the symptoms of overheating also can save a pet's life. Pinnon said those symptoms include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

Residents with a pool should keep a close eye on their pets. Pinnon said not all dogs are good swimmers, so they should be introduced gradually to the pool possibly with life vests. She said the pets also shouldn't drink the pool water that's been treated with chlorine.

To make sure residents' cats and dogs don't end up at the Humane Society, Pinnon said to make sure their pets can't break out of screen doors or open windows.

As the summer barbecues begin to heat up, Pinnon reminds residents that pets can't eat many of the food and drinks humans consume during the summer, including raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and alcoholic beverages.

While out on walks with the dog, owners shouldn't linger on hot asphalt that can overheat their bodies and harm their pads. Pinnon said residents can check how hot the asphalt is using the back of their hand.

"If it's too hot for you it's too hot for your pet," Pinnon said.

As Independence Day approaches, that means only one thing: loud, bright fireworks. Pinnon said dogs may get spooked by fireworks and run off, so she recommends having a comfortable area that's escape-proof to make sure the pets don't run off and accidentally get burned by the fireworks.

For more information, go to petsgohome.org.

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