By Rebecca Sheir
The heat wave might be easing, but the summer weather still can pose problems for pets in the region. Dogs require special care to ward off heat-related illnesses.
As Dr. Ashley Hughes of Friendship Hospital for Animals explains, dogs cool their body temperature two ways: panting, "and the other is they lose heat through their paw pads," she says.
But on a hot, humid day, neither method is very effective.
"Not only are they walking around with a fur coat on all the time, they're really not efficient animals at cooling their body temperature," Hughes says.
Hughes says the hospital has seen many cases of heat stroke the past few weeks: some, fatal. She wants people "to keep in mind if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog!"
That's why she recommends walking dogs early in the morning or late at night, when it's coolest. If you must walk midday, bring plenty of water. And look for signs of heat exhaustion.
"Dogs want to please us, so I'm sure they'll keep going," she says. "But if they slow down or stop, it's their way of telling us they need to go inside."
Once inside, Hughes suggests using a wet towel and gentle fan to ensure the dogs don't cool down too quickly, which can cause a whole other set of problems.