NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

South Jersey Bass Club ASSN.
Obit Michael J. Lewis

Hot Weather Tips for Pets and Vegetation

by D. Paul Harris
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dscf5803 Having a short, pug face can be dangerous in the summer heat--for dogs, that is. 

Breeds with pug faces such as Boston terriers, Shih Tzus or Pekingeses, which have a harder time breathing anyway, are more susceptible to the heat, says Dr. Karen Van Anrooy, a veterinarian at the Edwardsville Pet Hospital, in Edwardsville, Pa.

"Don't take them outside, because they won't last too long," Van Anrooy said. "Keep that breed in a cool area, because they will develop heatstroke very easily."

In hot weather, life outdoors for pets and plants can be unbearable, even fatal, without the proper care. Chip Sindel, co-owner of Sunset Plantland in Sunset Hills, Pa., said the best treatment for most vegetation in the heat is watering.

Sindel said lawns need to be watered two to three times a week, with a good soaking. He said plants should be watered once or twice a week, and new plants at least twice a week.

To help plants survive the heat and humidity, Sindel said, most shrubbery and  flowers need to be fertilized every week or two.

When it comes to pets, Van Anrooy said, owners should remember to make sure dogs have plenty of fresh water and are allowed to lie in the shade in an area where a breeze can help them stay cool.

Long-haired dogs such as German shepherds, chows, Afghans, Akitas and collies will be fine as long as they are not exposed to the heat for long periods of time, she said.

"Usually cats adapt pretty well to the heat and humidity. They will usually find a shady spot under a tree, porch or deck," she said. She said other animals such as horses overheat as well, and owners should be cautious during the heat wave.

Signs that a pet may be overheated include heavy panting, drooling, rapid breathing, muscle tremors or seizures. Van Anrooy recommends that at the first sign of such symptoms an owner spray the animal with water or immerse it in a tub of water until its temperature reaches 103 degrees.

Also, Van Anrooy added, no animal should be left in a car under any circumstances. "Even if the window is down, in a car they can still overheat" in hot weather, she said.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)