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Albuquerque officials offer tips on keeping pets safe during extreme heat

KUNM Reporter Megan Myscofski's dog Basil cools off on a hot day with a damp towel.
Megan Myscofski
KUNM Reporter Megan Myscofski's dog Basil cools off on a hot day with a damp towel.

As the heatwave continues in New Mexico, Albuquerque officials are reminding pet owners to keep animals cool and preferably indoors at the hottest times of day.

The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department advises that you never leave your pet in a parked car, which is against the law. Lieutenant Erin McKay also recommends limiting their exercise, especially walks, which she says you should do early in the morning or in the evening, when it’s cooler outside.

“If you have to walk them on pavement, you can kind of lay the back of your hand down for a few seconds. If it's too hot for you, it's pretty much too hot for them,” she said.

She added that it’s important that pet owners recognize the signs of heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Those symptoms include “Heavy panting, a rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, excessive salivating, vomiting,” McKay said. “They could be dizzy. They could lose consciousness. A lack of coordination.”

She said those signs would warrant a trip to the vet.

On hot days like today, pets should stay in air conditioning or in the shade. They also need access to fresh water, especially if they're outside. And if your animal is like my dog, Basil, a cold, damp towel to the head, neck and chest will be very welcome.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners. 

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project.
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