Keeping your pets safe in the summer heat

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The summer season brings heat and sun to north central West Virginia. Humans can use sunscreen and maybe a dip in the pool, but what about our furry friends?

The Bark Park in Bridgeport

With high temperatures in the low 90s this week, Dr. Amanda Hartman of the White Hall Animal Clinic said there’s one obvious thing we can do to protect them.

“Take them for walks early and go outside to play early in the morning or later in the evenings, especially once the sun goes down. The temperature changes dramatically.”

Veterinary Nurse Crystal Higgins of Hickman Run Animal Hospital in Fairmont said if your pet has to be outside, there’s some other options.

“Don’t keep them outside for long periods of time. If they do have to be outside, make sure they’re in a shady area and that they’re not in direct sun for very long.”

A water fountain at the Bridgeport Bark Park

Another thing to be very cautious about is the pavement temperature.

“If you can’t leave the back of your hand, which is a little more sensitive, on the pavement for very long, then that is an indication that it’s too hot for your pet to be walking on it

Crystal Higgins, Veterinary Nurse

And it doesn’t take much at all.

During peak hours, pavement temperatures can hit up to 140 degrees.

A family walks their two dogs on a hot summer day in Clarksburg

Another hot place not to leave your dog is the car.

“On a 75 degree day, the temperature inside your car can reach 109 degrees in just 30 minutes,” said Higgins.

And if you feel like your dog is not tolerating the heat well, some symptoms of heat stroke include:

“Panting excessively, tongue hanging out, the neck is stretched out trying to get air, or especially if the tongue is blue or purple, they need to get to a vet immediately.”

Dr. Amanda Hartman, White Hall Animal Clinic

Dr. Hartman also recommends making sure animals are safe during this Independence Day weekend by keeping them secured during fireworks and making sure they feel safe.

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