Summertime is here! You know what that means…lots of fun in the sun for both you and your furry friends. But summer heat means you need to take special precautions to keep your pet safe and healthy.
You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: never leave your pet alone and unattended in the car. Your car becomes an oven in no time flat in the summer sun. Even if you leave the windows cracked or the air-conditioning on, it can still quickly become too hot for your pet. Be a good pawrent and leave your furry kids at home to soak up the air conditioning while you run your errands in the summer.
Sidewalks, parking lots, asphalt, sand, metal—all of these surfaces can get way too hot for your pet’s paws. Put the palm of your hand on the surface for 30 seconds: if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet!
Cats are good at finding cooler surfaces to walk on, but take care when you walk your dog. Dogs get a double-whammy when they walk on hot surfaces. Since many dogs are low to the ground, the heat that rises from the pavement goes right to your dog’s belly. Add that to the heat from the blistering sun, and you quickly get an overheated dog.
Walk your dog early in the day and/or in the evening when the pavement is relatively cool. Let him walk in the grass whenever possible. Also consider getting your dog some booties to protect his feet from the heat. They look cute AND provide protection for their little paws!
Your dog’s main source of cooling is by panting. As your dog pants, the moisture evaporates from his tongue and mouth which cools the blood in that area. As the blood circulates through his system, it cools off other areas of his body as well.
But when the humidity is high, the saliva doesn’t evaporate as quickly, making it harder for your dog to keep himself cool. Be doubly sure he doesn’t over-exert himself or spend too much time outside when it’s hot and muggy out.
You know you need to keep a lot of fresh water available to your pets when they’re outside. But it’s just as important to keep fresh water inside. Your pets need to stay hydrated to be better able to beat the heat.
Giving your dog ice cubes made from beef or chicken broth or prepared frozen treats, or adding canned food to your pet’s diet are some fun ways you can help keep your pet hydrated.
Your pet needs to always be able to find a shady place to lie. This applies inside as well as outside. Lying in the sun, even in an air-conditioned house, can get too hot for some pets. If the sun beats down on a room where your pet likes to hang out, make sure the blinds are at least partially pulled when the sun hits that room, so your pet can always find a shady spot if desired.
Cooling jackets and cooling mats are also great to have on hand during the hot summer months
Lightning and too much usage can cause electric transformers to blow in the summer causing power outages. If your power goes out, put some ice in a cooler, so you can add ice to your pet’s water to keep it cool. Put your pets in the coolest room of the house. If your electricity will be out for a long time, consider boarding your pets or taking them with you to a hotel that allows pets.
Watch for heat stroke in your pet. Some symptoms include drooling, increased heart rate, excessive panting, weakness, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, collapse, seizures, or even coma and a temperature of over 104°.
Heat stroke can be fatal. Try to cool your dog down with cool (not cold) compresses to his feet and belly and get him to the vet. Be careful you don’t bring your dog’s temperature down too low, as that can cause additional problems.
Pets that have flat faces, like Persian cats, Pugs or Bulldogs, are especially prone to heat stroke because they don’t pant as efficiently. Elderly pets, overweight pets, and puppies and kittens are also at increased risk of heat stroke.
Keep the temperature in mind as you play and exercise your pets. Plan your outings for cooler times of the day and keep them short, and you and your pet can have more fun-filled summers together.