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Livestock & Pet Safety in a Heat Wave

June 29, 2018
By: Emily Demsey

Livestock & Pet Safety in a Heat Wave

Livestock and pet owners should take appropriate precautions to protect their animals from high temperatures that can cause them to suffer from heat-related stress and illness.

Heavier, fattened livestock, those with dark coats, and chronic health conditions are at the greatest risk for stress from heat.

Signs of stress in livestock:

  • Animals bunching together
  • Heavy panting
  • Slobbering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Trembling

If you see any of the following heat exhaustion signs in your pet, seek immediate veterinary care:

  • Anxiousness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abnormal tongue color
  • Collapse

Pet owners should remember to not leave animals in vehicles. A car's interior temperature can rise within minutes, creating suffocating temperatures that lead to animal health problems and often death. When pets are outdoors, it's important to be sure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh, clean, cool water. Animals kept indoors should have proper ventilation.

Additional tips to help pets and livestock deal with the heat:

  • Provide shade; move them to shaded pens if possible
  • Provide water--the hotter it is, the more water they should drink (providing a sprinkler can also help them to cool down)
  • Don't overwork livestock – it's safest to work with livestock in the early morning when body temperatures are low
  • Postpone routine procedures (such as vaccination, hoof trimming, dehorning) until the weather cools
  • Avoid unnecessary transportation – if livestock must be moved, do so in the late evening or early morning hours
  • Take dogs for early morning or late-evening walks

For more information or if you have concerns about the health of your pets or livestock, contact your local veterinarian.

Animal cruelty reminder: if you suspect animal abuse or neglect and would like to report it, you should contact your local humane society police officer or local police station. In the absence of local police, contact the Pennsylvania State Police. Pennsylvania dog wardens do not have jurisdiction over animal cruelty.



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