If you have stepped outside in the last several weeks, then you will know that this summer weather we have been experiencing is no joke! Just like us, our pets can be vulnerable to the effects of excessive heat and humidity. To help you keep your pets safe and comfortable during these hot and humid summer months, we’ve put together some essential tips to help you and your four-legged friends to beat the heat!
Give Your Pets Plenty of Shade and Lots of Water
When the temperatures rise, make sure your pets have plenty of shady spots to hang out in and keep cool. Create shaded areas in your yard or on your patio where they can retreat from the sun’s direct rays. Additionally, make sure that clean and cool drinking water is always available for your pets. Refill their water bowls frequently and consider using larger bowls or automatic water dispensers to prevent dehydration. Your pets can get dehydrated quickly in the right conditions!
Get Creative with Hydration
Speaking of hydration, consider offering hydrating treats such as frozen fruits or homemade popsicles to keep your pets refreshed and hydrated! Check out this article for some inspiration on some fun summer-time treats to keep your pets cool and hydrated. You can also add water to your pet’s kibble to help get them extra hydrated during meal times.
Avoid Walks and Playtime During the Hottest Hours of the Day
It’s important to adjust your pet’s exercise routine during hot weather. While they may wish playtime was longer, when temperatures are too high, it’s better to limit time outdoors. Opt for daily walks and playtime in the early morning or early evening when temperatures are lower, and the sun isn’t out. If you must take your pet outside during the hotter parts of the day, try to limit how long they will be out in the heat and keep an eye on them should they start to experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion (symptoms to look out for are listed below).
Be Mindful of Hot Pavement
When you and your pet do go outside and brave the heat, be careful of what surfaces you are walking and playing on. Hot pavement, like asphalt, can quickly become uncomfortable for your pet if you aren’t careful. Not only can it quickly burn their paw pads, but since they are so close to the ground, it can quickly overheat them! Limit time on these surfaces and opt for grassy and/or shaded surfaces.
Pets Can Get Sunburnt, Too!
Did you know that our pets can get sunburned, too? Just like humans, pets can also get sunburned, but keeping them protected is easy! To protect your pet’s skin, apply a pet-safe sunscreen to exposed areas such as the nose, ears, and belly. Light-colored animals and those with thin fur are especially susceptible to UV rays, but any dog or cat can experience sunburn if left out in the sun for too long. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on suitable sunscreen products for your pet.
Never Leave Pets in Parked Cars
One of the most critical safety reminders during summer is to never leave your pets unattended in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. Cars can become dangerously hot within minutes, even with the windows cracked open. This can lead to heatstroke, brain damage, or even death. In 85-degree heat, the internal temperature of a car can reach up to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes with no a/c and the windows up. Never leave your pets unattended in a parked car!
Practice Summertime Grooming
Regular grooming, including brushing and trimming long fur, can help keep your pet cool by improving air circulation around their skin. This is especially important for breeds with long, thick coats of fur. However, avoid shaving them completely, as fur provides insulation against the sun’s rays and helps them regulate their body temperature.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke (And What to Do!)
Heat Stroke (heat exhaustion) is a form of hyperthermia that occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive heat. Body temperatures above 105F are suggestive of heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, along with an elevated body temperature of over 105 degrees. If you suspect heat stroke, stop all activity and walk or carry your dog to a cool, shaded area with good air circulation. If the symptoms do not improve quickly and you are unable to take your dog’s temperature, take your dog to an emergency veterinarian immediately!
Your pets rely on you for their well-being, especially during the hot summer months. By following these simple yet crucial tips, you can ensure that they can have a safe and comfortable summer with you!