Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

How do you beat the heat?

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Greg Peck
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have a buddy who likes to take his dog along in the car wherever he goes. I'm hoping the pooch stays home today—and all this week. Veterinary experts warn to never leave your pet in a vehicle in the sun, even if the outside temperature is mild, because sunshine can push the interior temperature to 120 degrees within minutes, turning the vehicle into a death trap. Imagine how hot it might get on a day like today.

Leave your dog home, in a cool basement or shaded yard with a wading pool, vets advise. When traveling, make frequent pit stops. Always provide fresh, cool drinking water, even in your vehicle while traveling. Keep outdoor kennels well-ventilated and shaded with water in bowls that won't tip. Don't exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights.

Watch for signs of heat stroke—panting, staring or stupor, breathing difficulty, an anxious expression, refusal to obey, warm dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and collapse. If you notice such signs, call a veterinarian immediately.

Take care of yourself, as well. “Hey, where's your machine,” Gazette maintenance man Joe Villa asked me Monday as I headed out the back door. He was talking about my bicycle, which I've pedaled to work dozens of times this summer.

Well, I said, I had to take the car to the shop, and besides, if I had pedaled to work Monday, I'd have arrived sweaty. Not so good. I won't be riding the bike today, either. The rest of the week is doubtful, as well.

I'm just glad I resisted the temptation to pull our home's two window air-conditioners a couple of weeks back when the furnace kicked in during a crisp autumn-like morning. The one upstairs has kept the bedroom tolerable the last two evenings and will be running again tonight, no doubt.

Today's Gazette lists cooling centers open in Rock County.  The forecast for today is a high near 95, but with the humidity it's expected to feel more like 105. Please check in on your elderly neighbors, friends and relatives, and encourage them to use a cooling center if they don't have air-conditioning.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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