Sunny summer days entice people and pets to get out and enjoy the weather. But when temperatures soar, we need to take extra precautions to ensure pets are safe in the heat. Here are seven tips to keep your furry friend from overheating while out in the sizzling sun.
1: Protect your pet’s paws
You may think your pet’s feet are invincible with thick, tough paw pads, but they’re actually sensitive to extreme temperatures. Pavement or asphalt drink in the sun’s rays and can quickly scorch your pup’s feet, even during an evening stroll. Before setting out for a jaunt around the block, place your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds. If your hand hurts, your dog will also be hurt, and you should avoid your daily walk or stick to grass, dirt, or hiking trails to protect your pup’s paws. You may consider investing in doggy shoes or boots to protect her feet, but choose carefully—fit and ventilation are important and you must ensure the boots aren’t too tight and that your pet’s feet can breathe.
2: Hydrate pets with high quality H2O
Gatorade is not the beverage of choice to hydrate pets. Instead, provide plenty of fresh, cool water whenever your furry friend is outdoors, checking the bowl frequently to ensure it hasn’t tipped over and it’s not heating up from the sun. As your canine companion romps around outdoors, she will pant more to cool off, but will also lose moisture during the process, so be aware that your active dog requires more water than a sedentary pet.
3: Your pets: Love ’em and leave ’em (at home)
Show your pet how much you love her by leaving her at home when the temperatures reach the 70’s or higher. The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in 10 minutes, shooting up to 40 degrees higher in an hour. Cracking the windows does not provide enough ventilation to adequately cool your pet, and leaving the car running is not safe. Never leave your pet alone in a car, running or not, on a warm or hot day.
4: Pets need to laze in the shade
Like people, pets can become sunburned, especially those with thin hair coats. Ears and noses are sensitive to excessive sunlight, and white animals are prone to developing cancer related to overexposure. Keep your pet out of direct sunlight as much as possible to keep her cool and avoid sunburn. Shade without ventilation is like being trapped in a dark closet with no air, so ensure your pet’s outdoor area has both adequate shade and proper ventilation for maximum cooling.
5: Tread safely with your pet
If you’re hitting the beach with your pooch, or swimming a few laps at home, first ensure your pet knows how to swim. Not all dogs can doggy paddle, and few cats enjoy a swim. Consider a pet life vest and sticking to the shallow end for swimming lessons. Provide plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink, discouraging saltwater or pool water intake, which can poison your furry pal. Don’t forget to rinse off the salt or chlorine and chemicals after your swim.
6: Watch out for warning signs
Saying “No” to beautiful eyes begging to join in the outdoor fun can be impossible, even on the hottest of days. Keep an eye out for heat-exhaustion warning signs in your pet to prevent an escalation to heatstroke. You may see the following signs that indicate your pet is getting too hot:
- Excessive panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Increased heart rate or respiratory rate
- Bloody diarrhea
Take immediate action to cool your pet down with cool, never cold, water if you notice she is becoming overheated.
7: Guard grills against pets
A flaming hot grill is a different type of heat, but dangerous nonetheless, that can tempt a canine. Besides its blazing heat, a grill can also endanger your pet with its buffet of off-limits treats. Hot dogs, ribs, corn on the cob, and other foods can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, such as life-threatening pancreatitis or a foreign body obstruction. Include your pet in the barbecue by dishing up pet-friendly treats, such as fresh veggies and small pieces of unseasoned chicken breast.
Unable to handle the heat this summer? We can remedy scorched paws, swimming pool accidents, and snatched food off the picnic table, so give us a call.
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