CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Glaser family knows what a dangerous combination the heat and humidity can be for animals. The family almost lost their dog, Bia, to heat stroke during a hike near Lake Moultrie.
"We just decided to go around the lake and the weather just got so hot and humid it took control of her," Lindsay Glaser said. "As we were going back, she just collapsed and my husband had to carry her."
Bia was showing signs of a heat stroke.
"She lost all control of her body. She couldn't walk," Glaser said. "Her head was going every which way." Glaser's husband carried the one hundred pound lab to the car, with the help of good Samaritans they met along the way. Bia was rushed to urgent care for fluids.
It's a familiar sight during the summer, according to Charleston Animal Society veterinarian Dr. Angele Bice.
"Heat is at an extreme high, but humidity on top of that makes it a lethal condition for animals in a very short period of time so it's a very serious situation," Bice said. "We've had animals come in who are completely passed out. We've had animals pass away from heat stroke."
Bice said even hot pavements can land a pet in the hospital.
"With this heat, keep in mind the pavements are scolding hot, and we are wearing our shoes so we don't realize it. But we see animals with paw burns all the time," Bice said.
She said some pets don't show danger signs until hours after being in the heat.
"Some of the signs are if your pet is lethargic, they're not feeling well, they're not acting like themselves," Bice said. "They might not feel like eating or drinking. But, it could be more extreme things. They could pass out."
Bia's owners are now being extra cautious.
"She'll go out now in the mornings or in the evenings," Glaser said. "We'll walk her at that time, but no more during the day all day long. It's just too risky, and we want to keep her safe."
Charleston Animal Society is running a "Pools for Pups" program this summer.
"Having a wading pool for your dog to cool down is a great way to help them with the extreme heat and humidity," a release states. "If your dog has to be outside, please stop by our shelter and pick up a pool to help keep them cool! If you know of a dog in your community that needs a pool please pick one up for them."
The society also shared the following tips for pet owners:
- Never leave a pet inside a parked car.
- Limit time outdoors.
- Decrease level of play due to heat.
- Exercise during the coolest times of day.
- Always have water available.
- Look for cues from your pet that he or she is getting hot.
When traveling with a pet, never leave him/her in a vehicle:
- Use drive-thru services at restaurants and pharmacies
- Use pet-friendly stores where your pet can go in with you
- Eat at outdoor cafes where your pet can eat with you
- Take a friend with you, and have him/her walk your pet while you shop
- Leave your pet at home in the air-conditioning