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'Hot' advice for pet owners

Aiden, a 4-month-old Boxer, is examined by Dr. Sarah Meng, McConnell’s Veterinary Clinic veterinarian, for leg and joint issues Aug. 16, 2011, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.  The clinic provides vet services for dogs, cats and small furry animals such as rabbits and gerbils. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Laura L. Valentine)

Aiden, a 4-month-old Boxer, is examined by Dr. Sarah Meng, McConnell’s Veterinary Clinic veterinarian, for leg and joint issues Aug. 16, 2011, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The clinic provides vet services for dogs, cats and small furry animals such as rabbits and gerbils. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Laura L. Valentine)

Dr. Sarah Meng, McConnell’s Veterinary Clinic veterinarian, performs a health check-up for Makin’, an 11-year-old Boxer Aug. 16, 2011, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.  The clinic provides healthy recommendations for pets in extreme heat, such as proper hydration. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Laura L. Valentine)

Dr. Sarah Meng, McConnell’s Veterinary Clinic veterinarian, performs a health check-up for Makin’, an 11-year-old Boxer Aug. 16, 2011, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The clinic provides healthy recommendations for pets in extreme heat, such as proper hydration. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Laura L. Valentine)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- As record breaking temperature highs continue to heat the Midwest, McConnell's Veterinary Clinic offers advice to keep pets healthy and cool.

McConnell's clinic provides services for dogs, cats and "pocket pets." Pocket pets are considered to be small, furry animals such as gerbils, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs according to Dr. Sarah Meng, McConnell's Veterinary Clinic Veterinarian.

  • Shade - If you leave your pets outside for portions of the day, provide abundant shaded areas.
  • Cool water treats - Some dogs enjoys staying outside in a yard during the heat rather than indoors. If that's the case with your pet, add ice cubes to the water dish to help keep them cool, or set up a sprinkler to play in.
  • Walks and exercise - When the temperatures are scheduled to rise for the day, plan walks and playtime accordingly. Early morning or evenings are recommended for outings and be cautious of extremely hot surfaces. Heated pavement can cause blisters on the pads of dog's feet.
  • Prevent overheating - Dogs that have dark fur will overheat faster than those with a lighter coat. Brachycephalic breeds, such as the Pug and Pekingese, are prone to respiratory problems and could become overheated quickly.
  • Grooming - Dogs in the shepherd or collie families benefit from regular grooming to remove the undercoat. Shaving can help, but can also create other issues such as sun burnt skin.
  • Car rides - Never leave your animal unattended in a car.
Retired Master Sgt. Chuck Stanek and wife Connie, brought 11-year-old Boxers, Makin' and Dollars, to the clinic for check-ups Aug. 16, 2011. Connie shared tricks for keeping her family's pets cool in the summer.

She recommends ice baths, filling a large pool or tub with water and ice and letting the dogs enjoy either drinking or climbing in, and always checking their drinking water every hour.

For the upcoming fall season, Meng advises being prepared for fleas. The humidity and temperatures September thru November make those months the worst flea season in Kansas.

The rainy fall season also presents the danger of the disease Leptospirosis. Contracted by ingesting contaminated water or through skin wounds, the disease can lead to kidney failure.

No matter what season or temperature it is outside, it is important to remember the general health of a pet, said Meng. Scheduling routine health checks and keeping pets current on their vaccinations will help to keep pets healthy and happy.

For more information about the veterinary clinic or to schedule an appointment, call (316) 759-5190.