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Hot weather safety tips for your pets

Here are some ways you can protect your furry companions as Connecticut prepares for its third heat wave this weekend.
Woman and dog running on beach at sunset

HARTFORD, Conn — The heat and humidity is on this weekend and into next week, giving way for a possible heat wave.

While temperatures may be into the 90s inland, once tropical humidity is factored in it'll feel like 100 degrees across Connecticut.

With heat index values in the triple digits, residents are reminded to stay cool and stay hydrated.

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But, we can't forget our furry companions. If it's too hot out for you, it's too hot out for them!

Here are several tips from the ASPCA to prevent your pet from overheating:

  • Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heart-worm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
  • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
  • Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured. Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. 
  • Trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
  • Don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
  • Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
  • Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

The National Weather Service says Heat Advisories or Warnings may be issued for this weekend, so stay tuned on that.

Below is the forecast high temperatures for Sunday.

Credit: FOX61

The peak of the heat and humidity looks to be on Monday.

Credit: FOX61

If a city/town opens a designated cooling center, the site location and hours will be listed here

Note that city/town libraries, senior centers and other public locations are good places to cool off.

For more information from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, click here.

Track the live radar here.

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