How to protecting your pet from the heat

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As the Lowcountry comes out of its warmest May on record, it’s good to know how to keep your pets safe as the temperatures continue to rise.

One vet said high temperatures mixed with high humidity can be dangerous for your pet.

"They don't do well in high temperatures. They have to pant to remove their heat,” Dr. James Southard, Jr., with Air Harbor Veterinary Clinic, said. "Once the humidity rises then their panting becomes inefficient and they'll overheat really quickly.”

The heat can cause pets to overheat and also burn their paw pads.

“A lot of time you’ll see ulcerative areas on the pads where the pad tissue is actually peeling. Sometimes you’ll actually see bleeding as well,” Southard said. “Rule of thumb if you check the asphalt with your own feet and you can’t stand on it for over 30 seconds then you don’t need to have your pet standing on it.”

Southard said hot asphalt can do the same type of burn as fire would. He said it burns the tissue and can be very painful for your pet.

Leaving your pet in the car is another deadly issue the heat can pose.

"Don't leave your pet in the car period, even with the air conditioner running," Southard said. “Unless the car is moving you don’t want to take a chance on your air conditioner not putting out enough cool air.”

Air conditioning should also be a factor when it comes to boarding your pet while you head out on a summer vacation.

"Trying to board pets outdoor can be problematic due to the humidity and general heat," Southard said. “Just because there’s shade doesn’t mean your pet’s going to do well.”

Southard said it’s important to research with plenty of time before you drop your pet off for boarding. He said your pet is going to be stressed in a different environment, and it’s important to bring you bring your pet's food so it doesn’t add to their anxiety.

Before boarding, Southard said your pet will need to be fully vaccinated.

“There’s a new enemy out there called the canine flu that is in our area,” Southard said. “It’s not highly prevalent but it is in the area.”

Ultimately, Southard said for the summer to just be prepared and take the heat serious.

“Don’t take a chance with your pet’s health with this heat, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it yourself or staying in a vehicle for a vehicle for that amount of time just pass that along with your pet,” Southard said.

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