We love our pets and want to take them everywhere with us. While there's nothing wrong with that, keep in mind that warm summer weather can be dangerous to pet! Read on to learn some important pet safety tips for summer:
Avoid Hot Sidewalks
On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
A good rule of thumb is to place the back of your hand on the pavement before walking your dog. If you can hold your hand comfortably against the pavement for 5 seconds you're probably good to go!
Give Your Pet Plenty of Shade and Water
Pets can overheat quickly, so it's best to keep your pets inside on very hot days. For the times they are outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh water.
Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
On an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will soar to 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see a dog in a hot car and the owner can't be found, call the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.
Ensure Your Pet Is Well Groomed
Keeping your pet well groomed will help allow your pet to keep more air circulating against his or her skin-thus keeping them cool! If your pet has extremely thick hair or a lot of mats and tangles, his or her fur may trap too much heat, so consider brushing or clipping your pet's fur.
Shaving your pets can sometimes help depending on several factors that include their breed, age and health condition. Some pets have special coats that are designed by nature to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while other pets may need some help from their human counterparts. It's best to do some research and consult your veterinarian if this would be a good strategy for your pet.
Watch Out For Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Some signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
Pets that are very old, very young, overweight, have a heart or respiratory disease, or have a "smooshy" face like pugs or bulldogs, are more susceptible to heatstroke. It's best to keep these pets inside as much as possible during the hot, summer months. Pet owners should also limit their time outside during bathroom breaks and avoid extended or strenuous physical activity.
If you do think your pet is suffering from heatstroke:
- Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to his or her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over the pet.
- Do NOT use ice water or an ice bath to cool an overheated pet. Doing so will constrict blood vessels which will actually prevent the pet from cooling off.
- Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes
- Take your pet directly to the nearest veterinarian.