Spending more time outdoors with your pet is one of the biggest perks of summer. For many of us, the warmer days mean more walks, more play time, and more fun in the sun as we frolic and play with our beloved pets.
But, as fun as the summer sun can be, it also bring the propensity for heat stroke and dehydration – neither of which are any fun at all. So before you and your pet head out to play, keep these tips in mind for preventing heat stroke in pets…
Your pet will need plenty of cool, fresh drinking water in order to stay hydrated on hot summer days. Providing plenty of water for your pets will not only help to avoid dehydration, but will also work in your favor when it comes to preventing heat stroke, too.
- Provide one bowl of fresh water per-pet, plus one more outdoors during the summer months
- Clean and change your pet’s drinking water daily to ensure it’s fresh (Pro Tip: If the spigot in your yard leaks a little, keep a bowl underneath it to capture the water for your pet, just be sure to clean the bowl every few days to avoid any build-up of bacteria)
- Bringing drinking water, and a doggy dish, with you on walks and trips away from home to ensure your pet stays hydrated while on the go
- Consider placing a small pool, pond, or fountain in the backyard where your pet can wade in the water to cool off
Shade and Rest
In addition to an endless supply of drinking water, your pet will also need access to shade during the summer. Pets with lighter skin or hair can get sunburned, and dark-haired pets are more likely to get overheated. Here are some helpful hints for supplying shade and rest time:
- Provide a shady spot or two in your yard will give your pet the chance to escape the heat and cool off, it’s best if this spot is in the grass
- Plan your daily walks and play time for the early morning or evening hours, once the temperature has cooled down
- When out walking with your pet, plan a route ahead of time that will include some shady areas where your pet can rest and drink some water
- Stay off of the hot pavement to keep the pads on your pet’s feet from burning
- Allow your pet ample time indoors, preferably in an air-conditioned environment, to escape the heat
Signs of Heatstroke
All pets are susceptible to heatstroke, but those that are old, disabled, or very young run the greatest risk of suffering from this illness. Likewise, short-snouted breeds are predisposed to heat stroke because their airways are not as efficient at cooling when they pant. These breeds include, Boxers, Pekingese, pugs, Lhasa apsos and Boston terriers (just to name a few).
Heat stroke should always be treated as an emergency condition. If you suspect your pet is showing signs of heat stroke, take steps to cool your pet down (see below) and call us immediately.
The symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Laziness and fatigue
- Bright red or blue gums and tongue
- Excessive panting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloody diarrhea
To cool your pet down, do the following:
- Wet your pet down with cool (never ice-cold) water using a hose, water bottle, pitcher, lake, or wading pool
- Get your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned environment immediately
- Encourage your pet to drink water, even if it is small amounts at a time given out of your hand.
Pets and Vehicles
We hope it goes without saying that you should never leave your pet in a parked car, even for a moment. Even on a cool day, the temperature in a car can become unbearably hot to your pet within a matter of minutes. If you are in a pinch, you can leave the car running with the AC on, but keep those instances to a minimum, too; the carbon emissions of doing so aren’t great either.
If you have any other questions or concerns about helping your pet beat the heat this summer, please give us a call. We’re always happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment if needed.