Protecting your pets from extreme heat

FRESNO, Calif.

Playful pups love splashing around in the pools at Elaine's Pet Resort in Madera County. But the owner says even with the cool water and covered patios, staff members are very cautious about how long the dogs stay outside in this extreme heat.

Howard Nestell said, "We're very aware of the time of the day we allow them to play and how long we allow them to play, and of course we're watching them for any sign of heat related stress."

Dr. Leah Hill runs the only 24 hour emergency animal clinic in Merced County. She's already seen pets suffering from heat-related problems this week.

Dr. Leah Hill said, "When they come in they're in full reparative stress, panting, not able to walk. It's really sad because they can get overheated so rapidly."

Doctor Hill is especially concerned about people leaving pets in cars, which can be several degrees hotter than it is outside. She says just 10 to 15 minutes in that type of heat can start to cause brain damage and organ failure.

Dr. Hill said, "Once a temperature runs from 104 to 106, it can be fatal if it's not treated aggressively and right away."

Terry Bates takes no chances with his dogs. He keeps them inside as often as possible and makes sure they have plenty of shade and water when they're outdoors.

"We change their water about 4 times a day to make sure they have cold fresh water," said Bates. "They don't mind the ice cubes sometimes. It's kind of good for them I think."

Dr. Hill says it's also a good idea to put sunscreen on the faces and ears of pets with light colored fur to prevent sunburns and even skin cancer. And try to keep all pets paws from spending too much time on hot surfaces.

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