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Tuolumne, Calaveras Animal Controls Put Pet Owners On Notice

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Sonora, CA – Since already the Mother Lode’s extreme heatwave has generated several calls requesting assistance for pets suffering from heat distress, officials have issued an advisory.

Tuolumne County Animal Control officials say pet owners can prevent these calls by exercising more care and caution during excessive heat and certainly prolonged heat events, such as the region is currently experiencing.

Extreme temperatures can cause adverse health effects that extend to animals. Unlike humans, who sweat to keep cool, cats and dogs cool off by panting and through their footpads. However, in a parked car, for example, even with the windows cracked open, a vehicle can reach 120 degrees within minutes.

Officials point out that a dog’s normal temperature is 101.5 degrees, so at 120 degrees your pet can suffer and die from heat exhaustion; and at 107 degrees, brain damage can occur.

Best practices are to bring pets inside when temperatures get above the 90s and to make sure outdoor pets have plenty of fresh, cold water in a tip-proof water dish, and sufficient shade to be able to cool down. Livestock of all sizes must be provided with sufficient shade and access to plenty of water. For example, an 800-pound cow requires a minimum of 15 gallons of water per day. A 1,000-pound horse in high heat requires 12 to 18 gallons of water a day.

More Risk Factors, Symptoms Of Heat Illness

During a heatwave, especially in the hottest part of the day, hydration is key. During these times, avoid exercise with your pets, especially older and certain long-haired dogs that can be particularly susceptible to heat. Remember, too, that hot asphalt can burn animal paws.

Animals are at particular risk for heatstroke if they are very young or very old, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Certain breeds, such as pit bulls, boxers, and bulldogs have an especially hard time cooling down during extreme heat events.

Officials from Tuolumne and Calaveras counties say to be alert for signs of heat illness and stroke in animals. Symptoms include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, profuse salivation, unsteadiness, staggering gait, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, unconsciousness.

In the event of possible heat-related illness, immediately move your pet into the shade or air-conditioned area and gradually lower the body temperature by applying cool — not cold — water all over the body or soaking in a cool bath. Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck and in the armpits, paws, ear flaps, and groin area. If possible, direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling. Offer small amounts of fresh, cool water if the animal is alert and wants to drink but do not force the animal to consume water.

While the above are described as immediate actions, officials say animals suffering from a heat-related illness should be taken directly to a veterinarian for what could be lifesaving measures.