Summer heat is coming – Follow these tips to protect your pets
Summer fun may be on the way, but it’s important to remember that hot weather can also be a dangerous time for your pets. Like humans, they can suffer from sun burns, skin cancer and heat stroke. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe from heat and sun exposure:
- Never leave pets in a parked car. Not even for a minute. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Overheating can cause irreversible organ damage or death.
- Watch the humidity. Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves.
- Limit exercise on hot days. On hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Dogs more susceptible to heat include short-nosed breeds, long-haired breeds, very young pets and very old pets. Always carry water; get a pop-up or fold-away bowl for walks.
- Don’t walk pets barefoot on hot pavement. Follow the ten second rule: if the pavement is too hot for the back of your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet. Pavement can cause second-degree burns in less than 30 seconds.
- Don’t rely on a fan to keep pets cool. Fans work by blowing air across the skin and evaporating moisture; this doesn’t work very well for those with a fur coat.
- Watch for signs of heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are 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.
If you think a pet may be suffering from heatstroke, move them into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to head, neck and chest, or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.
Protect your pet anytime they’re outside in the summer. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they do not obstruct air flow, unlike a doghouse, which can make the heat worse. Keep plenty of fresh, cold water available at all times.