Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 12, 2013

Dog days bad for dogs

— Central Indiana will feel the heat today. Afternoon temperatures will hit the high 80s, and heat indices could make it feel even warmer.

It’s June, but it’s Indiana. It’s a taste of the dog days of summer to come.

When the heat is on, as it was Tuesday and will be today, the National Weather Service recommends we drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun if possible, seek air-conditioned areas and check our relatives and neighbors. And organizations like the Kokomo Humane Society suggest we take extra care of our dogs and cats.

High heat and high humidity can be life-threatening for a dog, particularly flat-nosed breeds such as boxers, Boston terriers, pugs, mastiffs and Shih Tzus.

Dogs are prone to heat exhaustion. They only can cool themselves by panting. If on an extremely warm day your dog is experiencing heavy breathing, muscle tremors or staggering, get it in a cool place, apply wet towels, try to give it a bit of water and call the vet.

Here are some tips on keeping your pet cool in the weeks ahead from Judy Hedding of Phoenix, who knows a little about heat:

• We all know most dogs like taking a ride in the car. Do your dog a favor and leave it at home while you run errands. On days like today, a parked car can heat up fast enough to cause your pet brain damage or death in just a few, short minutes.

• Walk your dog in the early morning or late evening. Streets and sidewalks could be too hot for the pads on your dog’s paws.

• If your dog is overweight, older or has a flat face like a bulldog, keep it inside where it’s cool.

We’re almost in the dog days now. We need to take special care of our dogs.