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Drink up: Heat can quickly take toll on humans and pets

NET News Service • Jun 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Hot enough for you?

Hot and sticky weather is expected to continue for the next few days, and it’s important for everyone who ventures outdoors — and their pets — to stay hydrated.

“It’s important that you pre-hydrate before going out,” said Dr. E. Alan Ongtengco of First Assist Urgent Care. “Drink lots of clear liquids, sports drinks.”

But watch the salt and the booze.

“It used to be that salt tablets were given out to people suffering from heat illness,” Ongtengco said. “That’s a no-no today.”

But how much hydration is enough?

“It depends on your size and any health problems you might have,” Ongtengco said. “I tell people that they need to hydrate until the urine is lighter-colored or clear. Also, antihistamines and antidepressants dry you out.”

And watch your intake of alcohol.

“Alcohol is a diuretic,” said Ongtengco. “Diuretics don’t let you sweat. It’s important to hydrate before, during and after an outdoors event. It’s also important that children push fluids too.”

And dress for success.

“Wear light clothing,” said Ongtengco. “Stay in the air conditioning or at least try to find a shady spot if you can.”

While you’re out, be alert for the signs of heat illness:



•Muscle cramps.

•Excessive sweating.

•Skin that feels hot but isn’t sweating.


Plenty of water is also a must for pets to survive outside. Dogs can suffer heat exhaustion and other related ailments quickly if they aren’t hydrated properly.

“Just like a human, they need that water good and cold. So if you must, put some ice cubes in their water to cool things off because if you just set it out there, it only takes a little while for it to become warm. You should change their water every day,” said Kingsport Animal Shelter Manager Tracy Raines.

Outside dogs also need plenty of shade in the summer months.

“A doghouse just won’t cut it,” Raines said. “There needs to be an area where the shade is spread for many hours.”

Raines said an occasional water hose bath is a good way to cool a dog down quickly.

Certain signs like frantic panting, gasping, and foam or slobber from the mouth are signals that the dog is getting too hot and needs attention right away.

The dog’s frame and body type can also cause some problems during the summer months.

“If you have the smaller, snub-nose type dogs like pugs or Pekinese, they do have a harder time breathing in the summer. So it might be a good idea to keep them in the shade most of the time or in a good, cool spot to help them breathe easier,” Raines said.

It’s going to be hot for the next few days, according to the experts.

Mostly sunny skies with a high temperature in the lower 90s is the National Weather Service forecast for today. Tonight’s low temperature should be in the mid-60s.

Saturday should be mostly sunny with a high in the lower 90s and an overnight low in the mid-60s.

Sunday should also be mostly sunny with a high temperature in the lower 90s. In fact, sunny skies and high temperatures in the lower 90s are expected through Tuesday.

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