LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Well-meaning dog owners can make mistakes in the heat that can cost a dog's life. Below are some things to consider to help protect your dog from heat-related illness.
WATCH FOR HEAT EXHAUSTION, HEAT STROKE
Take the case of Dive and Diamond. The two Pit Bull Terriers were left in a Las Vegas garage away from direct sunlight, but that did not prevent hot air from creating dangerous conditions.
Police say the dogs died from heat exhaustion.
"Dogs are dying out there and people are getting arrested. It was in the news today that there was a woman arrested for two dogs left in a garage," Gina Greisen, president of Nevada Voters for Animals, referencing their case.
"Pets have no voice," she said. "They depend on you for their care."
Dogs are at risk of heatstroke in as little as 80 degrees. They don’t sweat like humans do to cool down, their bodies are built to hold in the heat.
Panting is the primary way dogs cool down, cooling the air that circulates through their bodies, but some dogs have breathing problems.
"In Las Vegas, short nose dogs are very popular like French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Pugs," said Managing Vet for West Russell Animal Hospital Heather Benson.
"Those dogs have changes to their airways that make it more difficult for them to cool off," she explained. "So overweight, older, and short-nose dogs are more prone to heat-related injuries."
AVOID BURNT PAWS
Another problem is ground temperature.
"It’s crazy that people leave their dogs out on the street right now," said a Las Vegas area dog owner, Jonathan. "They’re walking them around on the asphalt. It’s way too hot."
Animal experts say it's important to protect a dog's paws with boots if you go for a walk during the summer.
"Unfortunately every year we do see pets that come in with heat-related injuries. They’re prone to injuring their feet," said Benson. "They can burn their pads on the ground because it is so hot. Even though they have that padding it’s not enough to keep the heat from getting inside their feet."
FUR KEEPS DOGS COOL
Experts also say to shave your pets appropriately because, contrary to popular belief, dogs' fur helps protect them from overheating and sunburn.
USE COOLING DEVICES
Lastly, it's important to have proper cooling devices both inside and outside.
"Hot days are not the time to take our pets out and to start getting exercise. Just like us, you need to work into conditioning and do the same thing for your pets," said Benson. "When we get to the temperatures that we are at right now, it is dangerous and they don’t survive."
Las Vegas is not an ideal climate to leave dogs outside, but if you must leave your dog outside you need to make sure there is proper cooling in place.
"If you’re going to have to leave your pets outside during these hot days we are having right now, one option would be to use a day boarding facility," Benson said. "Dog daycare facilities and veterinary hospitals do have the ability to leave your pet there for the day."
INFORMATION HERE: What you need to know about hot weather and dogs
No one can deny the joy pets bring to our lives and how important it is to keep them safe.