Summer heat and humidity isn’t just miserable for people, it’s miserable for your pets too. What’s more, pets aren’t as efficient in reducing body heat in the same ways humans do. For example, dogs and cats don’t sweat except for the pads of their feet. Here’s how you can help keep your pet safe during the summer heat.
- Never leave your pet locked in a hot car! Even a pleasant 70 degrees outside can build up to life-threatening heat inside your car. It takes less than 10 minutes for a pet to develop heat stroke in a hot vehicle. Never leave your pet in your car, not even “just for a minute”.
- Know the signs of overheating. Signs your pet is overheated include excessive panting, trouble breathing, unusual drooling, increased heart and breathing rate, dry and red colored gums, lethargy and weakness. Extreme cases of overheating can include body temperature over 104 degrees, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and seizures. Using a mesh or netted harness like Bark Appeal’s EZ Netted Wrap harness can also help prevent your pet from overheating.
- Keep your pet well hydrated. Make sure you keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your pet and refill their water dish as often as needed, especially when it’s humid out. Pets can dehydrate very quickly so limit time outdoors on high heat days and keep pet indoors as much as possible with plenty to drink.
- Don’t shave your pet. Some layers of fur help diffuse excess body heat since cats and dogs don’t sweat like people. If you have your pet’s fur trimmed, try to keep at least an inch of fur to protect them from sunburn, help reflect some of the sun’s heat and assist in the body-cooling mechanisms of their fur layers.
- Keep pets paws cool. Hot cement can easily cause severe burns on the pads of your pet’s feet. It’s helpful to keep in mind that darker ground surfaces absorb more heat than light colored ground surfaces and will be hotter. Allow your pet to walk in the grass instead of the hot concrete to protect their feet from the heat.
- Know how to cool your pet down quickly. If your pet is showing signs of overheating, use cool water to wet down their legs, paws and belly. Wetting these areas with cool water will bring your pet’s body temperature down more effectively than spraying cool water on top of them. Getting your pet to sit or lay in the cool water is ideal and circulate more fresh cool water in as needed. It’s also important to talk to your vet if your pet has had an overheating incident. He or she may have you take additional measures to ensure your pet recovers fully.
- Keep pets indoors and safe from fireworks. Summertime is a prime time for fireworks. It’s common for pets to become frightened, confused and disoriented by the sound of fireworks and to flee looking for safety. Many pets get hit by cars or get lost every year while fleeing from fireworks. Keep your pet safe and secure by keeping her indoors in a secure room when fireworks are booming outside.
Summertime is known as fun time but it can quickly become a dangerous time for your pets. Summer heat, humidity, hot concrete, overheating and fireworks all can pose serious danger to your pet. Following our tips will help you keep your pet safe this summer season.