Pets love frolicking in the summer sun with their families, but they too often fall victim to overheating. Keep your furry pal cool and safe this summer by following our South Shores Pet Clinic team’s heat safety tips.
#1: Exercise your pet safely on hot and humid days
Your pet does not always know when to call it quits, especially when they are following an intriguing scent along a trail or playing a rousing game of tug. Your pet will quickly overheat if they continue to overexert themselves while the temperature or humidity level is high. As disappointed as your pet may be, put an end to their playtime and exercise before they develop heatstroke.
In addition, before you take your pet outside during the summer, check the weather forecast to ensure you head outdoors during the day’s coolest time—typically early morning, before temperatures and humidity levels climb.
#2: Ensure your pet has plenty of shade, ventilation, and water
To prevent your pet from overheating outside during the summer, always ensure they have these three essentials:
- Fresh water
You might believe that because a covered porch or garage offers your pet respite from the blazing sun, they are not at risk of overheating, but they are, if the space is not well-ventilated and fresh water is unavailable. So, always ensure your pet has the three essentials necessary to stay cool and safe when they are outdoors during hot weather.
#3: Offer your pet cool ways to beat the the outside heat
Your pet may want to join you outside, no matter how high the temperature climbs. Provide your pet fun activities, helping them stay cool and safe outdoors while they:
- Splash in a shallowly filled wading pool
- Run through the sprinkler
- Play on a splash pad
- Jump in the swimming pool after you strap them in their safety vest
You can also help your furry pal stay cool by offering them frozen, pet-friendly treats. Remember to avoid giving your pet ice cream, as they may have a dairy sensitivity. Instead, as a special treat, offer your dog frozen cubes of canned food or peanut butter. Your cat will enjoy frozen cubes of canned food or tuna.
Encourage your pet to stay hydrated during the summer by adding ice cubes to their water bowl. The chilled water may tempt them to increase their water intake and keep cool.
#4: Avoid shaving your pet down to the skin
Contrary to what you might think, your pet’s hair coat keeps them cool in the summer by regulating their body temperature, in addition to providing sun protection. By shaving your thick-coated pet, you take away their ability to stay cool, because they will be unable to regulate their body temperature. The best way to ensure your pet’s fur keeps them cool in the summer is to brush them regularly to remove dead hair, prevent mats, and disperse healthy skin oils.
#5: Leave your pet at home when running errands
Taking your pet for a short car ride is fine, but leaving them unattended in a vehicle while you pick up groceries can quickly turn to a deadly situation. Although you may believe that parking your vehicle in the shade with the windows rolled down is safe for your unattended pet, you put them in peril, because the temperature can rapidly rise more than 20 degrees in a short time. Without adequate ventilation, your pet can quickly overheat. In addition, never leave your unattended furry pal in a running vehicle because they may accidentally turn off the air conditioning or the motor, effectively cutting off the ventilated cool air. Keep your pet safe by leaving them at home to snooze in the cool and quiet.
#6: Recognize pets’ heatstroke warning signs
Learn to recognize pets’ heatstroke signs so you can act quickly, and begin cooling them down. Heatstroke’s initial signs can rapidly progress if you do not take prompt action, so watch your pet closely for any indication that they are overheating. Your pet needs immediate veterinary care when they exhibit the following heatstroke signs:
- Heavy panting
- Thick, ropy drool
- Bright red gums
- Disorientation and confusion
- Difficulty walking
- Bloody diarrhea
#7: Know how to cool down your overheated pet
If your pet exhibits heatstroke signs, bring them indoors immediately. Use a rectal thermometer to get their baseline temperature reading. Direct a fan at your pet’s face, put them in the bathtub, and run cool—not cold—water over them, ensuring they can keep their head above water. Offer your pet fresh drinking water, but do not force them to drink or pour water down their throat. Do not use ice water or wrap your pet in wet towels. These methods are ineffective for cooling, and can be dangerous. Once your pet’s temperature drops to 103 degrees, stop the cooling procedure, and bring them to our hospital.
Monitor your pet closely to keep them cool and safe during summer’s high temperatures and humidity levels. If your pet exhibits overheating or heatstroke signs, get help immediately by contacting our South Shores Pet Clinic team.