Keeping Pets Safe During Scorching Temperatures - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Keeping Pets Safe During Scorching Temperatures

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by Mark Bellinger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The hot weather may not only be taking toll on people but on animals, including family pets.

Veterinarians said if it is too hot for a person, it also too hot for animals to be outside. Keep them inside in the air conditioning and make sure they get plenty of water.

Experts at the Nashville Zoo said they even have to watch animals that are familiar with the heat.

The meerkats at the Zoo got an icy treat on Wednesday during the scorching heat of the day.

"And ice treats depend on what kind of animal you are, so if you're a carnivore you get a bloodsicle or a turkey pop. If you're a monkey you may get a fruitsicle," said zookeeper Kelly Denton.

Denton and other keepers watch carefully for any signs of distress from the animals during the hot summer months. Birds like the ostrich naturally keep their mouths open to release heat. Others seek the shade and drink of cool water.

"If we see things like panting, laying on the ground, that sort of thing we notify the vet staff and get them inside into a cooler area as soon as possible," said Denton.

Many of the animals at the Zoo are smart enough to seek shade. The giraffes naturally go there.That's why the zoo has big trees for them.

The elephants have a big pool, but handlers also bathe them up to twice a day.

"If you're something like the Red River Hog the keeper will even make a mud wallow for them, when it's really hot to get into and wallow around in," added Denton.

Denton said pet owners should do the same at home if they see any symptoms with their pets.

"Providing shade or air conditioning would even be better, as well as plenty of cool water, just the same sort of thing you would need," added Denton.

Veterinarians said it is easy for a dog or cat to die from heat stroke. Pet owners are warned if you see heavy panting or they're having trouble catching their breath get them inside.

And also to be careful when walking dogs on streets and sidewalks because hot pavement can burn their paws.

Email: mbellinger@newschannel5.com

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