MENANDS, N.Y. – With high humidity and temperatures in the 90s hitting the region, experts are asking pet owners not to overlook also protecting animals from the dangerous effects of this week's heat wave.
A dog's body temperature is naturally around 100 degrees and they don't have sweat glands, so keeping them cool becomes increasingly important in warmer weather. The only way to keep cool is by breathing cool air in through their mouths by panting, which is why it is so important to keep your dog as cool as possible when the weather becomes dangerously warm.
Bring outdoor pets indoors. If that isn't an option, keep fresh water near them at all times. Even a kiddie pool is recommended for dogs to cool off while outdoors.
Brad Shear, of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, said that a major misconception many people have is that animals can tolerate the heat better than people can, but urged people to consider that if it felt hot to them, it does for pets too.
"I think people just assume that animals can tolerate more than they can, and they just weren't made for this kind of weather," said Shear. "If they were roaming free, they would try to find the coolest space they can, and if they're in their backyard a lot of times there isn't a space cool enough."
Workers at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds are also taking extra precaution in caring for their livestock in this week's heat.
Schuylerville teen Stephanie McBath is one of dozens of helpers who take care of the livestock in the barns at the Fairgrounds.
"They have fans on them all the time, they have water every hour or so they're lying in nice fresh hay, they really love it in here," says McBath. "Honestly, this is one of the coolest places on the fairgrounds.
Another farm worker, Janet Hanehan of Saratoga Springs, agrees. "They get washed every day; they can get sprayed down whenever they need it. It's very comfortable. This is better than when they are at home," she says.
Here are few tips from the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to help your pets get through the heat wave safely:
Keep pets in an air conditioned environment during the heat of the day.
Limit strenuous activities such as running and playing, even if your pet is typically active.
Always make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water.
If possible, bring outdoor pets indoors or be sure that shade is available to them. Even a kiddie pool is recommended for dogs to cool off while outdoors.
Never leave pets in an unattended parked car. Partially opened windows on hot days do not provide sufficient airflow to prevent overheating.
If your pet does become overheated, spray them down with room temperature or cool water. Never use ice water because it can cause a decrease in blood flow to the skin, allowing heat to escape the body, which makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.
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