Tips to keep your pets safe this summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tips to keep your pets safe this summer

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The summer months are fun for us, but that's not always the case for our four-legged friends.

Dr. Colleen Nemmers, a veterinarian at Companion Animal Clinic in Cedar Falls, said during this time of year, we should protect our pets from two things: fireworks and heat exhaustion. 

When dogs hear fireworks, they tend to run away or hide. She said if you think your dog may get scared, you can take it to a quiet basement and play music to drown out the loud noises. Nemmers also cautions owners to keep leftover fireworks debris away from dogs because it can be deadly if they get it in their mouths. 

If you find a dog who has run away, Nemmers said you can check if the dog has a tag, or you can bring it to a veterinary clinic where they will look for a microchip. If these aren't options, you can also call the Animal Control Services in your area. 

Cats, on the other hand, typically tend to hide when they're scared, so Nemmers said you should keep an eye on them. 

Nemmers said during this time of year, many people choose to medicate their pets to calm them down when these tips don't work. She said this can be a good alternative, however, it should always be done under a veterinarian's supervision. 

During warmer months, owners should make sure their dogs get plenty of shade and water throughout the day. Nemmers said it only takes 10 minutes for a dog to overheat, and older dogs are at the highest risk for heat exhaustion. 

"You can look out for loud panting – louder than you would expect. It could sometimes sound hoarse or almost like, I describe it as Darth Vader breathing. They sound like they are labored," Nemmers said. "And, you can even take their temperature at home. It should never be over 102.5 degrees."

If you choose to take your dog outside, Nemmers said the best time is during the early morning or late at night. 

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