Hot Tips for a Pet-Safe Summer

Summertime is a time for fun and frolicking; however, here are some key tips to help keep your pets cool and safe…

BE VIGILANT ABOUT VET CARE – When it starts getting warm outside, take your pet to the vet for a full checkup including a heartworm test and a flea and tick protection plan. These are year-round issues but in the summer months it’s especially important to monitor them.

DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN THE CAR ON A WARM DAY – Within just a few minutes; a car can get extremely hot, stifling, and deadly. Never, ever leave your pet in a parked car on a warm day. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

WATCH THE HUMIDITY – Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.

LIMIT EXERCISE ON HOT DAYS – Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, which are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, which typically have difficulty breathing.

OUTDOOR DANGERS – Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws – you can check with your palm on the pavement; if it is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.  Therefore, walk your dog on the grass whenever possible. Make sure he or she always has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. Add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. Doghouses do not provide relief from heat—in fact, they make it worse. 

KEEP YOUR HOME COOL FOR YOUR PETS – Some people turn their air conditioning off when they leave for the day. If you have a pet at home, this could put them in danger. Try leaving the AC on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps 74°F or lower). Make sure your pet has water, and consider closing curtains to reduce the heating effects of sunlight.

KNOW WHICH DOGS ARE LESS TOLERANT OF HEAT – Older, obese or short-nosed dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs) are less tolerant of heat. Also, older dogs, puppies and dogs with health issues can also be more susceptible to hot weather. Of course, you should keep a close eye on your dog in the heat, no matter what his breed, age or state of health.

KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS – Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, increased thirst, lethargy, fever, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, a deep red or purple tongue, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

Have questions about summer pet safety or need to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us today!