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Michigan officials give tips to keep pets safe amid heat wave

More extreme heat! NEXT Weather Forecast (6/18/2024)
More extreme heat! NEXT Weather Forecast (6/18/2024) 02:42

(CBS DETROIT) - As temperatures reach the mid-90s this week, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding residents about how to keep animals cool. 

State officials say preventing hit stress and seeing the signs of it are equally important.

"When temperatures rise, keeping animals cool and hydrated is essential to their overall health," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM. "While it is important to recognize the signs of heat stress in animals, it is even more critical to prevent this stress from occurring. Michiganders can follow six easy steps to help keep animals cool and safe." 

Keep pets hydrated and know signs of heat stress 

Residents should ensure their pets have access to unlimited cool, clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration. Animals can get parched just as quickly as people. 

It is also important for people to know how their pet tolerates heat. An animal's age, breed, type of coat, and health history impact how well it tolerates heat. 

A veterinarian can provide specific information on handling pets when it gets hot outside. However, people should still know that increased panting, drooling and lethargy can be signs of heat stress. 

Ensure ground isn't too hot for paws

People should also make sure to test surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete and sand to make sure they are comfortable for pets to walk on.

If a surface is too hot when a person touches it with the palm of their hand, then it is too hot for animals' paws. 

State officials suggest walking a path that is mostly grass or waiting until the evening to go for walks to give everything time to cool off. 

Avoid harmful algal blooms 

Animals should be kept out of areas with harmful algal blooms. These blooms form due to the rapid growth of cyanobacteria, which is naturally found in lakes, rivers and ponds.

To avoid illness, animals should be kept away from discolored water. They also should be rinsed off after any contact with lake water. To report illness caused by harmful algae.

Don't leave pets in parked cars

Vehicles get heated up quickly, and animals shouldn't be left in them. 

Leaving the car windows cracked and parking in the shade do not do much to improve the conditions during extreme heat, according to state officials.

The best option for people is to leave pets at home when they are out. 

Provide cool space for pets 

When the temperature is well into the 90s, pets will try to find places to cool down. 

People should provide animals with shade, fans, misters, pools, cooling mats and air-conditioned spaces to keep them comfortable during hot temperatures. 

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