Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out, about, and enjoying all that the season has to offer. While summertime is a great time to bond with your pet, the higher temperatures also mean that there is a higher risk for our furry companions.
It's hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don't sweat like people do. Yes, dogs do sweat, but not very much. As many of us know, dogs more commonly cool themselves through panting.
Our team at the Hendersonville Animal Hospital put together a list of tips to help keep your pet safe this summer.
1. Provide plenty of water and shade
Dehydration in dogs and cats is very possible during the summer. Dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, which makes it crucial to know when they get hot. Some signs of dehydration include dry gums and excessive drooling.
Owners need to make sure that their pets always have access to fresh, cool water not only inside the house but in a bottle when going outside.
When possible, try to keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and lead to heat stroke.
2. Never leave your pet in the car
All it takes is minutes, yes MINUTES, for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal. However, it can take less than 10 minutes to develop heat stroke in dogs and cats inside the hot vehicle.
On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! The best option would be to leave your dog home on warm days but if you end up driving around with your dog in the car, bring water and take your dog with you when you leave the car.
3. Know the signs
A dog's normal temperature ranges between 100° and 103°F, while a normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5ºF. Anything higher than that means your pet’s in danger. Dogs and cats don’t sweat like we do. Instead, they drink water and pant to in order to cool down.
Some signs include:
Believe it or not, dogs especially with short or light-colored coats can get sunburn. Just like for us humans, it could be painful and can even lead to skin cancer.
Use only sunscreens made specifically for pets. We could advise on the product suitable for your pet’s fur type.
5. Keep your dog's paws cool
Try to keep your pet off of hot surfaces like cement and asphalt. Not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. When spraying your dog with water, make sure to spray the paws and stomach to cool them down quicker. If you are using a wet towel, try to rub their paws and stomach then top coat.
If you can't walk your dog during the early and later hours of the day, doggy boots are a good way to protect their paws.
6. Keep away from fireworks
Summer is the time for barbecues, picnics, celebrations, and of course, the 4th of July. What are all of these things without fireworks as they are the most-awaited part.
While we all enjoy a big bright bada boom, our pets tend to get scared and run away. Besides, fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate that can poison your curious pet if eaten.
If you are putting on a fireworks show, keep your pet indoors and clean up the entire yard of the debris before letting your pet back out. If you are heading over a friends, leave your loved one in a safe place that is quiet.
7. Keep parasite off
The summer is when fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites are almost everywhere. They end up carrying tapeworms, heartworms, and diseases that may put your pet at risk.
Ask us about the appropriate medical prescriptions to keep your pet pest-free!