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This heat is ruff. Here's how to protect your pets.

Wiener dog running during the race with tongue out at the Wiener dog race on April 30, 2023.
Patricia Lim
A dog competes during the Buda Wiener Dog Races in April.

It may feel like the gates of hell have opened up in Austin, and there's no end in sight from the heat. Your furry friends are feeling it, too.

A lot of the things you do to keep cool during triple-digit temperatures apply to pets, as well. Hydration is key, says Allison Swearingen, dog adoption manager for Austin Pets Alive.

Your pets won't tell you if they're dehydrated or overheated, so here are a few things to look out for:

  • excessive panting
  • inability to catch their breath
  • tongue hanging out a lot
  • stumbling
  • looking like they're out of it

Swearingen recommends getting pets cooled down quickly if they're dehydrated or overheated.
Try putting a wet towel over their body and ice in their water bowls, she said. And if they seem severely affected by the heat, take them to a vet.

To prevent your pet from getting too hot in the first place, Swearingen said, make sure they drink plenty of clean water and limit their time outside.

You can also apply sunscreen (yes, the one you use for yourself) to your pets' noses and coats if they have short fur. Talk to your vet before trimming your pet's fur, Swearingen said.

“Certain breeds, they actually have a double coat so that's actually designed to help insulate them," she said. "By shaving them, the theory is that that can actually take away the natural properties of it. But those dogs with those super thick coats, sometimes a good haircut does at least ... get a little airflow in there."

Swearingen also reminds folks that if a surface is too hot to touch, it's too hot for paws.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
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