Amberly Smith, 10, refills the water bucket for her dogs Jack and Jill, with her father, Tony, in the back yard of their Grovetown home.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Jack and Jill don't spend all day running up the hill, but they still needed plenty of water.
With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s all last week, the two 1 1/2 -year-old mixed breed dogs owned by Tony and Angie Smith were smart enough to avoid the heat and sun.
Jack and Jill napped on the cool, shaded dirt between foundation bushes and the cool bricks of their owners' home during the hottest parts of the day.
But shade and plenty of fresh water are exactly what outdoor animals need during muggy summer months, county animal officials said.
"They are just as susceptible to heat, maybe even more so," said Roman Howerton, crew leader at Columbia County Animal Care and Control. "They can't sweat, so they have to pant to remove heat from their body. (Make sure they have) plenty of water. Always take water, even on walks and stuff."
According to the Human Society of the United States, domesticated animals such as dogs are more vulnerable to overheating than humans because they have sweat glands in their nose and pads of their feet, which are inadequate for cooling on hot days.
Jill, a 112-year-old mixed breed owned by Tony and Angie Smith, uses bushes at her Grovetown home to find shelter from the sun.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Linda Fulmer, Columbia County Animal Care and Control director, said the more often the outdoor water is changed the better.
"Water does nothing but heat up with the temperatures," Fulmer said. "It will be warm. And if you are in an area with no trees, get a tarp or something for shade."
Any area out of direct sunlight such as a dog house, kennel or other shady area is fine.
Fulmer suggested that if a pet is kept on a concrete pad such as a kennel, owners should wet the concrete with a hose or provide a baby pool with water in it. Ice cubes also make cool dog treats during the summer.
Fulmer said her office investigates all calls about animal cruelty including an incident two weeks ago in which owners had tied a dog outside with no food, water or shelter.
Fulmer said occasionally her office responds to complaints of dogs inside vehicles during the summer heat, when temperatures inside the vehicle can reach dangerous levels quickly on a sunny day.
The humane society said that on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees after 30 minutes.
With only overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.
"A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn't leave your child or someone else in the car, don't leave your animals (in the car)," Howerton said.
As animals spend more time outdoors in the summer, there are other dangers to them beyond the heat.
Pam Tucker, county Emergency Services director, also strongly suggests having rabies vaccinations up to date on all domestic animals including horses because of a few detected cases of rabies in the wild. Three raccoons and a fox infected with the viral infection attacked four dogs since the beginning of the year, county officials said.
To report a suspected case of rabies, call Animal Care and Control at 541-4077.
Keep pets cool
Signs of Heat Stress in Domestic Animals:
Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness
If the animal shows any of these signs of heat stroke, gradually lower the animal's body temperature by:
lMoving the animal into the shade or air-conditioning
l Applying ice packs or cold towels to its head, neck and chest or immerse the animal in cool, not cold, water
l Letting the animal drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes
lTaking the animal to the vet
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