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Tips to keep pets healthy, safe in the heat

September 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it's hot outside, we need to pay a bit more attention to our four-legged friends.

Dr. Jeff Werber, a veterinarian, says along with providing shade and extra water, you need to worry about when you exercise your pet. Early morning or late evening is the way to go because the way they release heat is through their nose and paws.

"If you have a dog that starts panting excessively, I mean really panting, it doesn't want to follow you, it's not keeping up with you, that is a tremendous sign that we may have some heat stroke going on," said Werber.

Werber says he has seen a dog's body temperature reach as high as 107 degrees. So take ample stops, sit in the shade and bring water. He also reminds us to never leave the animal in a car. Werber said an experiment using time-lapsed photography showed that a car in the shade in the summertime reached 120 degrees in 14 minutes.

This is also a time when allergies, fleas and ticks are at their peak. Werber says trees, grass, pollen, weed or mold can cause skin irritation and more.

Check your pet's eyes for redness or yellowing, which may signal allergies. Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial sprays and eye drops ease itchy conditions along with supplements that your vet can recommend.

While you really don't want to go here, Werber says that 75 percent of animals over the age of 3 have some sort of bacterial disease, so it's important to brush their teeth.

"We are trying to avoid the bacteria that are being introduced through the diseased gums into the blood stream, which then set up shop in the heart, in the kidneys, in the liver," said Werber.

Start with a bit of chicken-flavored gum on your finger, and then graduate to a toothbrush. Do this prior to a walk or meal so the animal looks forward to it.

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