NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The southeastern heatwave is dangerous for household pets, with extreme temperatures increasing the risk for heat exhaustion.
Nashville Veterinary Specialists & Animal Emergency spokesperson Becky Dan said the clinic has seen seven cases of heat exhaustion in pets since Monday. Two of those animals died.
Extreme temperatures are felt more by animals. Dan suggested taking walks early in the morning or late at night. The pavement can be extremely hot and may cause burns on the pads of the feet of both dogs and cats.
Dan said that even with shade, animals shouldn't be outside for extended periods.
"Dogs and cats, their natural body temperature is higher than me or you. They don't sweat the same way we do," said Dan. "They can only sweat through their paws or their mouths. So, they have a really hard time getting rid of heat."
Some dog parks have sprinklers throughout the area, but even dog owners there don't want to keep their pets out too long.
"I think one of the reasons I'm kind of drawn to it is because it has the astroturf," said Hannah Lavey, who has a young dog named Finn. The astroturf was significantly cooler than nearby sidewalks.
Dan said if you suspect your animal has overheated, don't throw extremely cold water on them.
"They have all that heat inside their bodies... All of a sudden you throw this cold water on them, all their capillaries close and they get really swollen — all that heat gets trapped in them," said Dan.