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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Our four-legged friends feel the heat, too

Summertime living is no easier for cats and dogs than for their sometimes overheated owners, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service warns.

Road trips and short haircuts don’t always help either.

Trimming a dog’s hair to a 1-inch length is a good way to reduce skin problems and overheating, but a shorter cut also robs Rover’s protection from the sun.

A bug in the eye will wipe that big grin off Fido’s face while he cruises down the road with his head out the window and his tongue flapping in the breeze. And he won’t thank you if he comes down with a lung infection or an inner-ear problem.

A better plan, when traveling, is to put your pet in a well-ventilated cage with room for the animal to lie down, stand up and turn around – accompanied by a favorite blanket or toy, according to SCRAPS director Nancy Hill.

She offered these other summertime tips, gleaned from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

“Never leave pets alone in a parked vehicle. Animals can suffer heatstroke on hot days, even with the windows open.

“Three to four hours before departing on a road trip, provide a light feeding, and don’t serve subsequent meals in a moving vehicle.

“If the car overheats, don’t let your pet drink the spilled coolant. Antifreeze is highly poisonous.

“Bring lots of water. Unfamiliar microbes in the local water may cause stomach and intestinal distress of the all-too-familiar kind. Don’t allow your pet to drink swimming-pool water.

“If you go boating, put a flotation device on your pet, too. Some dogs can’t swim well.

“Allow your pet to play in the early morning or evening – but not after a meal or when humidity is high. Be especially sensitive to overweight animals and those with lung diseases. Watch for excessive panting and drooling, weakness and elevated body temperature.

“Remember that snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and Shih Tzus need lots of air conditioning.

“Don’t allow animals to play with matches. Keep lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of their reach, too.

“On really hot days, keep pets off pavement. They can overheat quickly, and their paws will burn.