When summer rolls around, it’s not only humans who feel the heat. Our pets do, too. The summer months can be uncomfortable and even dangerous for pets if proper precautions aren’t taken. High temperatures can cause overheating, dehydration, and other health issues. That’s why it’s critical to keep pets cool and comfortable. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about keeping pets safe in the summer heat with an online search right now.
Understand the Risks
Let’s start by understanding the risks that hot weather poses to your pets. Like us, animals can suffer from heatstroke. This is a serious condition that can lead to organ damage. Dogs, in particular, are prone to heatstroke.1
That’s because dogs only sweat through their paws and cool down by panting. With higher temperatures, their bodies may not cool down fast enough, leading to heatstroke.2 Cats, rabbits, and other pets can also suffer in the heat.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke occurs when a pet’s body temperature rises significantly above normal and they’re unable to cool themselves down. The first signs of heatstroke may be subtle, but they can rapidly progress. Since heatstroke is a serious condition, it’s important to know the signs:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing: This is often the first sign. If your pet can’t stop panting or seems to struggle to breathe, it might be overheating.
- Drooling and red tongue: Heatstroke can cause your pet to salivate more than usual. Their tongue may also appear brighter red than normal.
- Lethargy and weakness: Pets suffering from heatstroke may appear unusually tired, unsteady on their feet, or even collapse.
- Diarrhea or vomiting: Some pets may experience gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting or diarrhea.
- Seizures or loss of consciousness: In extreme cases, heatstroke can cause seizures or a loss of consciousness.3
If your pet shows any of these signs, it’s crucial to take immediate action to cool them down and contact a vet as soon as possible.
Provide Plenty of Water
One of the simplest yet most important steps is to ensure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water. Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather, so your pet needs to drink more than usual. If you’re taking your dog out for a walk, carry a portable water bowl. For pets at home, check their water bowls regularly. It’s a good idea to have several bowls in different locations.
Keep Pets Indoors
If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet. During extreme heat, keep your pets indoors, especially during the hottest part of the day. Most pets, particularly dogs and cats, prefer a cool, shady spot to relax. If your pet enjoys being outside, make sure they have a shaded area to rest, and remember to bring them in when it gets too hot.
Don’t Leave Pets in Parked Cars
It’s important to understand that a parked car can turn into an oven in no time. On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Temperatures inside a car can soar even with the windows cracked open and in the shade.
Here’s why it’s dangerous for pets even on seemingly mild days: When it’s 70 degrees outside, for example, the temperature inside a car can reach 90 degrees in just 10 minutes and 112 degrees in an hour.4 So, a parked car isn’t a safe place for pets.
Exercise Wisely During the Summer
Exercising is important for your pet’s health, but it needs to be done wisely to ensure their safety in the summer heat. One important factor to consider is the temperature of the pavement. Scorching sidewalks can irritate or even burn a pet’s sensitive paws. Walking on grass can be a better alternative.
Additionally, remember to adjust the intensity and duration of your pet’s exercise based on the temperature. On hotter days, opt for less strenuous activities or shorter periods of exercise. Keep the time of day in mind, too. Early mornings and late evenings are typically cooler and more comfortable.5
Appropriate Grooming for the Summer
Contrary to popular belief, a pet’s fur isn’t just for warmth in the winter. It can also help prevent overheating in the summer. In the summer, fur helps keep the heat out, protecting your pet’s skin from the sun and acting as a cooling barrier.
As a result, it’s not recommended to shave your pet down to the skin. Instead, consider a summer trim to make your pet’s hair more manageable. Professional groomers have the expertise to trim your pet’s hair appropriately for summer.6
Making Summertime Safety a Priority
The summer months can pose significant risks for pets. The rise in temperature can lead to discomfort and health hazards like dehydration and heatstroke. By understanding these risks and taking proper precautions, you can effectively safeguard your pets against the summer heat. Our pets rely on us to protect them, so it’s important to take some time to research the best strategies for keeping them cool and comfortable.