Dog on block of iceFor many of us, summer means spending more time outdoors having fun with our four-legged friends. But summer also means more hot weather, which can take its toll on our four-legged friends, if we’re not careful.

Because our pets can’t control the AC or strip down to their skivvies, we need to help them monitor their exposure to the heat and sun, and protect them from the dangers of dehydration, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses. Hopefully these tips will help when it comes to summer safety for pets…

Protecting Your Pet from the Heat

It doesn’t matter if your pet is indoors or out on a hot summer day – you still need to take precautions to keep your four-legged friend safe in the summer heat.

  • Make sure that both dogs and cats have ample shade to get out of the heat if they are spending any kind of time outside, even if the day is overcast. Keep in mind that a doghouse is not a good shelter for pets during the summer, as they tend to hold in heat and become unbearably hot.
  • Make sure your pets have access to fresh, cool water throughout your home and yard. We recommend keeping one bowl of water per-pet, plus one outdoors at all times.
  • If your dog spends a lot of time outside, keep a kiddy pool full and ready (with clean water) for your pet to play in.
  • No matter how much your pet begs you to GO, resist the temptation and leave your four-legged friend at home unless your car has air conditioning for the drive and you won’t be leaving him or her in the car even for a few minutes. The temperatures inside a vehicle can reach over 100 degrees in just minutes on a hot day, even if it’s only in the mid-80’s outside.
  • While fitness is important for your dog, avoid strenuous exercise on hot days. Opt to take morning or evening walks when the temperatures are cooler, and make sure to let them walk on the grass. The sidewalk can get very hot and burn his or her sensitive paw pads.
  • While air-conditioning is a good bet for all dogs on a hot day, it is especially important for breeds with short muzzles, like pugs and boxers. These dogs can find it very difficult to breath in the hot weather, and are more susceptible to heat stroke than their longer-snouted counterparts.

What You Need to Know About Heat Stroke

Heatstroke isn’t just a problem for people. Pets are at particular risk for this heat-related condition too.

Heat stroke is an emergency situation for pets, and should be taken seriously. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, take immediate action to cool your pet down by bringing them into an air-conditioned home or wetting your pet down with cool (not cold) water. Once you’ve done that, give us a call immediately for further instructions.

Early Signs of heat stroke can include:

    • Heavy panting
    • Rapid breathing
    • Excessive drooling
    • Bright red gums and/or tongue.
    • Confusion

Advanced Signs of Heat stroke can include:

    • White or blue gums
    • Lethargy
    • Uncontrollable urination or defecation
    • Labored breathing
    • Seizure
    • Shock

If you have any questions or concerns about summer safety for pets, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. And, again, if you suspect that your pet’s suffering from heat stroke, please don’t wait to call us for help. We’d rather tell you that there’s nothing to worry about, than say we wished you had called sooner…