How to have a pawsome summer!
Summer is here! It’s time to enjoy endless days of summer fun by the pool—or enjoy the cool AC indoors for some of us—but for our furry humans, it can be a ‘ruff’ time. Summer means loud noises and HOT temperatures. Here are some facts and tips on how to keep your furbaby safe and comfy this summer.
Summer Outings and Heat Exhaustion
Summer is great, the temperatures...not so much. When sun is out and the temperature is up, your furry friend is at risk for heat exhaustion (heat stroke). If you’re like me, you take your pet everywhere during the summer, but you have to make extra preparations for those long car rides or play days.
Guide to your purrfect pet outing:
- Ice cubes, watermelon, or frozen chicken stock cubes are a perfect method to make the heat a little more bearable
Apply rubbing alcohol on your pups paws
Provide a fan for your pup
Many pet owners don’t put sunscreen on their pets despite the fact that they can get sunburn and skin cancer just like humans. White dogs, hairless dogs, and those with light-colored fur are most susceptible to sunburn, but all pet owners should apply sunscreen to a dog’s nose, ear tips, underbelly, eyelids, and around the mouth. Protective clothing can shield your pet’s skin from the sun.
Walking in Summer
Walk your dog either earlier in the day or later in the evening when the sun is lower, the ground is cooler, and the air is easier to breathe. You can also protect your pup’s heat-sensitive paws by walking on dirt or grass rather than concrete or asphalt. Remember: if the concrete or asphalt is too hot for you to hold your hand on, it’s too hot for your pup’s paws.
Removing excess fur can help keep pets cooler (always research before trimming hair too short. In some dogs, layers of fur can help protect them from sunburn and overheating).
Just like you, dogs need frequent water breaks and time-outs in the shade to prevent dehydration or heat exhaustion. (Limit exercise on especially hot days to keep your pet from overexerting.)
Beat the heat by taking your dog to a pet-friendly water location or set up a sprinkler or kiddie pool in the backyard.
Do not leave your pet in the car
You have heard it before, but I’ll tell you again: never leave your pet in a car if the weather is warm. Cracking the window makes no difference in the temperature gain. It doesn’t take a high temperature for it to become dangerous—a car in the shade can reach dangerous temperatures on a hot day.
Always carry pet identification
Pets should always wear a collar or harness and ID tag.
“We see and treat mild cases of heat exhaustion, and several that are very serious every year. It’s important that pet owners take precautions to lower their pets’ core body temperature, not just a quick cooldown method like an ice bath that is ineffective.” (Dr. Robert Hanks DVM)
Here are some things you need to know this summer.
Common Risk Factors
Age extremes (very young, very old)
Heat intolerance due to poor acclimatization to the environment (such as a heavy coated dog in a hot geographical location)
Short-nosed, flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds
Dehydration, insufficient water intake, restricted access to water
Know the Common Causes
Excessive environmental heat and humidity
being enclosed in an unventilated room, car, or grooming dryer cage
Poisoning; some poisonous compounds, such as strychnine and slug and snail bait can lead to seizures, which can cause an abnormal increase in body temperature
Know the Common Signs and Symptoms
Some symptoms may include:
Bright red tongue
Thick, sticky saliva
If your dog displays signs of heat exhaustion take your pet to the nearest vet.
Thunderstorm and firework phobias, as well as heat exhaustion affect many pets and their owners every year. Steps should be taken at home to change the environment to make it more inviting for pets to seek shelter, as well as closely monitoring your pet during the summer heatwaves. If modifications in the home do not help, scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian is recommended.
These tips do not substitute actual medical advice. For complete and detailed information, it is advised that you talk to your veterinarian about pet safety over the summer and in any extreme conditions.