Veterinarian talks tips for pets in hot weather

Updated: May. 29, 2019 at 3:54 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s important to check on neighbors, the elderly and those in need during the record-breaking heat the Cape Fear has been experiencing. It’s also important to keep your four-legged friends in mind.

According to Dr. Charles Joplin with Atlantic Animal Hospital, if your dog’s eyes dilate, or if the end of their tongue expands, those are red flags. It means the dog’s cooling system is maxed out and they need to go inside.

Before walking your dog, feel the pavement with the back of your hand for about five seconds to make sure it’s not too hot. Walk your dog early in the morning and later in the evening when it’s cooler. Around 10 a.m. Wednesday, the ground temperature was 97 degrees.

Dr. Joplin says pay attention to panting and what your dog is trying to tell you too.

“It’s important to listen to what your dog is trying to tell you. When we sit down and refuse to go forward. When we’re always trying to pull over into the shade. When we’re stopping and trying to take a drink out of every puddle. That’s some signs that the dog is in some kind of distress and they’re saying it’s time to go home,” he said.

Joplin said people don’t always think about how hot the ground is because people obviously have shoes on, but hot pavement can burn paws.

Lindsay Barbour, the founder of dog-waking company Leashes of Love, said they try to walk dogs in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler. She said they also test the pavement first before walking the dogs by putting their hands on the pavement to see if it burns their hands.

“If you’re outside and you’re having a good time, your dog is going to want to keep on playing, keep on sunbathing. If you start to see signs and symptoms of heat stroke of being overheated, it’s important that you say ‘c’mon come inside’ so that your pet is safe," Barbour said.

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