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West Texas heat can be dangerous for pets

A veterinarian explains how heat can cause harm to your dog, if not taken care of correctly.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — It’s no surprise it is hot in West Texas, where last week, temperatures reached more than 100 degrees. 

For people, it’s important to stay hydrated and cool when the heat is at its worse. 

Green Meadow Veterinary Hospital Veterinarian Scott Blanton said it’s just as important to look after your pets. Even when it comes to simple things such as going for a walk, where the heat will always play a factor. 

The concrete and asphalt in West Texas can reach temperatures of 100 degrees and more during the summer months. 

"Early in the morning, it's best time to walk because it gives you overnight cooling and the sun is still down," Blanton said. "If you can put your hand down and hold it there for 30 seconds and it doesn't burn then it's probably cool enough" 

If you do leave your pet outside during the day, always make sure to have plenty of water and shade for them. Blanton said some signs to look for if your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion - panting, which increases as heat stroke progresses, drooling, agitation, restlessness and a bright red tongue.

He warns not to cool your dog off too quickly, because it can do more harm than good, but to slowly lower your dog’s temperature. 

"Get a quarter bath inside fairly quickly but you don't want to drop their temperature," Blanton said. "You don't want to go ice bath or anything like very quickly also so you want to slowly get them cooled off." 

Once your dog is starting to cool off, keep them inside and let them rest up. Blanton said heat affects different breeds of dogs, and sometimes it is the smaller dogs which the heat could do more damage to, but he wants people to be aware that dogs are not much different from us. 

"Some dogs can take the heat and like people you can't throw somebody that's not been around the heat and have them start running a half marathon in the heat," Blanton said

Blanton said under no circumstance should you ever leave your dog in the car. 

"Temperature inside that car can jump up to 120 in 10 minutes. And so never, never take them in the car and leave them in the car,"

If your dog does suffer major heat exhaustion Blanton says to take them to the nearest vet as soon as possible. 

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