Warm Weather Pet Safety Tips
As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, most of us are spending more time outdoors. To make sure everyone has a fun and safe summer, here are five tips to help keep your pets safe this summer.
- Keep your pets cool
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful parks, beaches, and hiking trails with your pet. However, summer heat can be dangerous for your pet. Unlike people, dogs and cats don’t perspire like we do. To cool off, dogs and cats mostly dispel heat by panting and they perspire only minimally through their pads. Unfortunately, this method is less efficient than sweating and your pets can quickly overheat on a warm day and develop heat exhaustion, commonly known as heat stroke. Don’t risk your pet’s health, limit exercise and outdoor activities to early mornings and evenings when it’s not as hot and humid. Also, make sure your pet always has access to shade and water. Cooling products can also help keep your pets cool and comfortable this summer. Cooling vests work by dissipating heat through evaporation. For these vests to work, they need to be wet, so remember to keep them from drying out. Lastly, be extra careful with brachycephalic, or flat-nosed breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers, as they are even more heat-intolerant than other dogs. These dogs are best left in a cool house when it’s hot outside.
2. Keep your pets hydrated
Providing lots of water for your pet is essential during the dog days of summer. Besides having access to lots of fresh water at home, remember to bring water for yourself and your dog when going on an outdoor excursion, especially if the weather is hot, or the trail is strenuous. And don’t forget to bring a portable bowl for your dog unless you don’t mind sharing your bottle!
3. Know the signs of heat exhaustion
What are the common signs your pet may be suffering from heat exhaustion?
- Excessive panting
- Trouble keeping up
- Bright red tongue and gums
- Dry gums that feel sticky to the touch
- Bloody diarrhea
- Dark urine
- Unsteadiness or wobbly
Heat exhaustion can quickly damage vital internal organs. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, try to cool them down gradually by wetting them with cool water and immediately take them to your veterinarian for additional treatment. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can be fatal.
4. Protect your pet’s feet from hot surfaces
When you are wearing shoes, it’s easy to forget how hot asphalt gets on a hot summer day. Pet parents need to look out for their pets since their pets are unable to speak up for themselves. Running on asphalt, concrete, or sand can be a problem for your dog as these hot surfaces can burn your dog’s pads. Asphalt absorbs heat well and can be 40-60 degrees hotter than the ambient temperature. That means that the ground can be 125 degrees when the temperature is 75 degrees! One way to avoid burning your pet’s pads is to exercise your pet in the morning or evening when the temperature is cooler and walking your pet on grass and dirt. You can also protect your pet with dog booties.
5. Never leave your pet in a parked car
Most people know they should not leave their pets unattended in a parked car when the weather is hot. What many do not realize is how quickly a park car becomes dangerously hot. Even if the temperature is only 85 degrees and you leave your car windows down, your car can heat up to 102 degrees within 10 minutes. To be safe, never leave your pet in a parked car for ANY length of time when the weather is warm. Why risk your faithful companion’s life? It’s better and safer to leave them at home if you are going somewhere that doesn’t allow pets.
Summer is great time of year to spend quality time with your pets outdoors. To keep your pets safe during these hot summer months, remember to follow these simple steps. Protect your pet from heat exhaustion by giving them access to plenty of shade and water. Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. Protect your pet’s pads from hot surfaces. And most importantly, never leave your pet in a parked car or tied outside in the direct sun. Don’t forget that pets are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion than we are. Hopefully these safety tips will help keep your pets safe so both of you can have a wonderful and fun summer.