During the summer months, many of us spend more time outdoors with our pets, leave them out on the terrace or open areas for extended time, and even take them along on errands. While interaction with your pet is important for its health and wellbeing, the hot weather does pose a risk to our animal friends. Here are some tips so that your pet enjoys a fun, comfortable and healthy summer.
Provide plenty of water and shade
Dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the summer. Dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot. Signs of dehydration include dry gums and excessive drooling. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water inside the house and bring a bottle for your furry companion when going outside, just like you do for yourself. You might also switch to a wet dog food during the hotter months to increase fluid intake.
Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them – especially dogs – and lead to heat stroke.
Know the signs
A dog’s normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, while normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5ºF. Anything higher than that means your pet’s in danger. Dogs and cats don’t sweat like we do. They drink water and pant to bring down their body temperature. Watch for these possible symptoms of overheating:
• Heavy panting
• Dry or bright red gums Thick drool
• Vomiting Diarrhea Wobbly legs
If your pet shows signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a cool place, give them a drink of water, put a damp towel over their body, and get them to the vet asap. Don’t place your pet in cold water that can put them into shock.
Never leave your pet in the car
Most pets love riding in cars. But they wouldn’t enjoy being stuck in it somewhere in the parking lot when it heats up to over 100 degrees. You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal. However, it can take less than 10 minutes to develop heat stroke in dogs and cats inside the hot vehicle.
Believe it or not, pets get sunburns too, especially those with short or light hair coat. And just like with people, it hurts and can even lead to skin cancer. If you are planning to spend a day out in the sun with your furry companion, apply sunscreens every three-four hours to the least hair-covered spots: bellies, ears, and nose. Use only sunscreens made specifically for pets.
Don’t shave your pet
You might think shaving your dog or cat for the summer is the best solution for overheating. But a pet’s coat is naturally designed to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Feel free to trim the fur on your pet in the summer, but never shave. Be sure to leave at least a full inch of hair to protect your pet’s skin from sunburns. And don’t forget about your pet’s regular grooming schedule, no matter what season it is.
Mind your walking hours
If you have a dog, walk and exercise your pup only in the early morning and late evening. Never do it in the middle of the day. When outside, take breaks in the shade and have water available.
Keep your dog’s paws cool
Pets heat and cool from the bottom up. If you’re out in the sun together, try to keep your pet off of hot surfaces like cement and asphalt. Not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the back of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly. When spraying your dog with water, make sure to spray the paws and stomach to cool them down quicker. If you are using a wet towel, it’s better to rub their paws and stomach than topcoat.
If you can’t walk your dog during the early and later hours of the day, doggy boots is a good way to protect their paws.
Keep parasite off
In summer, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other parasites are practically everywhere. They carry tapeworms, heartworms and diseases such as Lyme or Bartonella that can put your pet at risk. Ensure your pet is well protected.