Keep your pets safe throughout the hot summer months as soaring temperatures can be dangerous for pets.

The LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital offers tips to keep your animals safe. 

Remember pets require special care to avoid heatstroke. Dogs cannot tell people when they feel hot so ensure pets have sufficient shelter from the sun, an adequate supply of water to drink — preferably in a tip-proof bowl — and a way to cool off as the heat rises. Be aware of these needs when leaving pets outside during the day.

Do not forget that at this time of the year, it is life-threatening to leave pets in hot cars, even if they are parked in the shade, and even for just a few minutes. Each summer, the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital sees several heatstroke cases.

A dog’s body temperature is normally between 101°F and 102°F. A rise of three degrees to a temperature of 105°F can cause the dog to have a heat-related illness.

Puppies and kittens as well as older dogs and cats are predisposed to heatstroke and heat-related illnesses. Also, brachycephalic breeds (those with short snouts or muzzles such as pugs and bulldogs) are at increased risk.

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Early signs of heatstroke include rapid breathing, rapid heart rate and gums that change from a healthy light pink color to bright red or even dull, grayish-pink. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be observed. Heat stroke is an absolute emergency. If your dog exhibits these signs, move him to a shaded area, soak the coat in cool water, and get him to a veterinarian immediately. These signs can be followed in minutes or days by collapse, organ failure, seizure, coma, blood clotting disorders and death.

All pets with heatstroke need to be treated immediately and monitored carefully for a few days.

Do not go jogging or biking with your dog at midday during the summer. It could have disastrous consequences for your dog. Plan walks for the early morning or late evening hours when the temperature is relatively low. Make sure your pet’s exercise level is appropriate for the age, breed and body condition. Consult your veterinarian for advice. 

And while Fourth of July has passed, remember that holidays featuring fireworks can frighten pets and put them at risk. Make sure your pet has access to a comfortable, quiet and safe place to hide (e.g., a kennel/crate). Make sure windows and doors are closed and curtains are drawn to help muffle outside noise and play music or the television to help offset the sound of fireworks. If you know that your pet has a fear of loud noises like fireworks, contact your veterinarian to ask about calming medications. Make sure that your pet is microchipped in case your pet manages to escape.

If your pet requires emergency medical care after-hours, the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for emergency cases. For pets and small exotics, call (225) 578-9600, and for horses and livestock, call (225) 578-9500.