LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – With temperatures in the ’90’s in many parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding owners on some of the best ways to keep animals cool and safe.

State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland says, ”As we head into the summer months and temperatures rise, keeping animals cool and hydrated is essential. It’s important to recognize the signs of heat stress in animals and even more critical to prevent this stress from occurring. Michiganders can follow five easy steps to help keep animals cool and safe this summer.”

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Tips for keeping animals safe from the heat include…

  • Let if Flow: Provide unlimited cool clean, fresh water Just like people, animals can quickly get parched in hot temperatures. No matter the species, animals should have access to unlimited cool, clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration.
  • Know Their Limits: An animal’s ability to tolerate heat varies. An animal’s age, breed, type of coat, and health history can all play a role in their ability to tolerate the heat. Keep an eye on them for signs of heat stress—like increased panting or drooling and being more lethargic. If they are showing these signs, it is time to immediately move them to a cooler area. Also, consider talking to your veterinarian. They will have a greater knowledge of your animal(s) and be able to give more specific guidance on how to best handle them in hot weather.
  • Happy Paws: Test surfaces to make sure they won’t burn paws. Surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and sand can really heat up in the sun, which can burn paws – or at least make a walk very uncomfortable. To test if a surface is too hot, touch it with the palm of your hand. If it is too hot for you, consider taking a different route that is mostly grass or waiting until the evening when everything has had a chance to cool.
  • Get in Gear: Parked vehicles are NOT places to park pets. Even when temperatures feel more moderate, vehicles can heat up very quickly, creating dangerous conditions for the animals left inside. Leaving windows cracked open and/or parking in the shade do little to improve the situation. In these conditions, it is best to leave pets at home when you need to go out and about.
  • A Place to Chill: Make sure animals have a place to cool down. Animals know when they are too hot and will usually try to find a place where they can cool down. Make sure they have access to shade, fans, misters, pools, cooling mats, and/or air-conditioned spaces to help them stay comfortable.

MDARD says that following these tips can help keep your animals cool and comfortable through Michigan heat waves – and if there are any concerns about your animals’ health either now or throughout the summer months, please talk to your veterinarian.