News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dogs are more susceptible to heat than humans are

To The Daily: Two summers ago, as I was driving past a man who was walking two dogs, I noticed one of the dogs seemed agitated. Having worked in animal protection for 30 years, I noticed the dog was showing the symptoms of heat exhaustion. He was a bit unsteady on his feet and was panting heavily.

I stopped and told the man that his dog was in danger — something he hadnít realized. We raced the dog to a veterinarian, but we were too late. The dogís temperature was off the scale.

Many people donít know that dogs have a harder time handling the heat than humans do. Dogs cannot perspire; the only way they can rid their bodies of heat is through their mouths, by panting. During a heat wave, that may not be enough to keep them cool.

Brain damage can occur in minutes. Please donít learn this lesson the hard way. When temperatures soar, keep your dogs well hydrated and in the shade or an air-conditioned space. Donít walk them or, heaven forbid, have them run behind a bicycle in the heat. Watch your dog carefully and pay attention to the temperature of the pavement or sand, which can be 30 to 40 degrees hotter than the air you breathe and can easily burn a dogís paws.

If heat prostration occurs, lower the dogís temperature by hosing him or her down, and give the animal a damp towel. Transport the dog immediately to a veterinarian.

And please, pass the word on to anyone you know who has a dog.

Ingrid E. Newkirk
President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Va.

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