Summer means warm temperatures in most places, scorching triple digit temps in other places. Whether you are experiencing a normal summer or about to enter a heat wave, there are a few things you can do to make certain your pets don’t suffer in the heat when everyone is enjoying the great outdoors.
First, understand what happens and why it is important to keep your animals cool. According to Pet MD (2015) when animals are kept in less than ideal environments, like the car or a beach, their natural cooling abilities are inhibited, resulting in hyperthermia, a condition that leads to heat exhaustion.
The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive panting, labored breathing, increased drooling, mild weakness, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, and in extreme cases vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and seizures.
Keep your pets cool by limiting sun contact, such as saving walks for early in the morning or in the late evening. This will help keep their panting at a normal rate and pavement will be cooler which is much better for the pads of their paws.
If you are out in the heat and sun with your pet during the peak heat hours of the day, find some shade for your pet.
If at the beach, consider a beach tent or beach umbrella to provide shade when it isn’t occurring naturally. Remember, if the temps are really high, it’s best to keep your pets indoors.
The inside of a vehicle can reach temperatures over 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the sunny days of summer. The experts recommend leaving your pets at home because of this fact.
Panting in dogs generally ends up using more energy and generating more heat, which turns into a vicious cycle that could end with heat exhaustion.
If there is a chance you would have to leave your pet in a vehicle for any amount of time that would make them uncomfortable, leave them at home for their safety and well-being.
Water, water, and more water! Keep bowls full of cool water for all the pets this summer! If the temps are soaring or you are entering a heatwave, you can even put some ice in the bowl of water to keep the water cool.
Panting takes a lot of fluids from the body, so it’s important to have plenty of clean, fresh water on hand. There are also water alternatives for pets to replenish electrolytes lost through panting and drooling.
Pay close attention to the breed of animal you have, and any special conditions that may be heightened by heat exposure. Some breeds are more prone to heat stroke than others, and pet parents need to be aware of this.
Persian cats, Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Pekingese all have panting issues and are prone to heat stroke. Shaving a pet can take away from their natural cooling abilities, so it is recommended trimming long hair, but not shaving completely.
We love our pets, and want to treat them the best we can, so this summer be sure to pay attention to their needs as well as your own.
Fun fact I discovered the other day: Many ice cream places, those kinds that you can walk up to and order from the window, also have doggy treats! So if you do have your pet with you when you are out and about, check into it, you never know.
Most importantly, stay cool, and help your pets stay cool as well.