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Help your pets beat the heat this summer

With hot temperatures in the forecast this summer, pet owners are reminded to take the following precautions to keep their animals happy, healthy and safe.

Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center receives many calls from caring residents who want to help pets left unattended in vehicles during the spring and summer months. Although 10 minutes may not seem like a significant amount of time, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.  These high temperatures are very dangerous to pets, so whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a shady area, or even better, in the air-conditioned house. If you see a pet unattended in a vehicle and the animal appears to be in distress, immediately call Mission Viejo Animal Services Center at 949-470-3045.

Exercise your pets in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside. Heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, can be common for pets around the summer months in this area. People perspire as a natural way for our bodies to relieve ourselves from heat; dogs and cats lack the ability to perspire.  They cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through the pads of their feet, so they are more prone to overheating.  This is especially true of older and overweight pets or dogs with short snouts.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy or excessive panting, lack of coordination, weakness and increased salivation eventually progressing to dry gums. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke, which can be fatal. If you believe your pet may be experiencing heat exhaustion, call your veterinarian immediately.

Protect your pet’s paws. Local veterinarians say you should check the pavement for heat before taking your dog on a walk. Place your hand or a bare foot on the surface for 10 seconds. If it is too hot for you to keep your hand or foot on it, then it is too hot for your pet.  Studies have shown that with an outside temperature of 77 degrees F, asphalt in the sun can be as hot as 125 degrees.

By taking these simple steps, you can keep your pets healthy and safe all summer long!

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