Just like their human companions, dogs and cats enjoy the carefree and playful summer months.
During the days when the temperature and humidity soar, you need to take special care to protect pets from summer heat and keep them safe and comfortable. Due to their limited ability to keep cool, pets can become overheated quickly. Overheating can result in heat exhaustion, heatstroke and even death.
The following tips will aid in keeping your beloved companions happy and healthy throughout the summer months and help them “keep their cool” as the mercury rises.
• Never leave pets in a parked car in summer, even with windows partially open. The temperature inside a parked car rises very quickly and can kill a pet in less than 10 minutes!
• Avoid vigorous exercise during the heat of the day. Take dogs out in the early morning or evening hours when the heat is not so intense. Stop and let your dog drink often while exercising. Remember, hot asphalt can seriously burn the pads of their feet.
• Pets that are older, overweight, long- or thick-coated, and dogs with short muzzles are at great risk for overheating. They’ll be safest and happiest in an air-conditioned environment in hot weather.
• Outdoor pets should always have plenty of cool, freshwater to drink and a safe, shaded area to retreat to. Make sure water is kept in a tip-proof bowl. If possible, bring outside pets indoors on very hot or humid days.
• Signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion may include heavy panting or drooling, unsteadiness, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Seek veterinary care immediately.
• Your pet’s coat helps insulate him from the heat as well as protect against sunburn. Clipping or shaving pets too close in an effort to keep them cool can actually result in LESS protection. If you choose to give your pet a summer cut, keep it to a one-inch length and never shave down to the skin.
• If your dog isn’t on heartworm medication, have her tested, then put her on a prevention program. Mosquitoes, plentiful in summer, can carry heartworm larvae and infect your pet.
• Flea bites can cause severe itching and allergic reactions, and the ingestion of fleas can result in tapeworms! Ticks carry diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and can cause anemia. Your veterinarian can recommend a good flea and tick control program. Remember that pests are far easier to prevent than to get rid of.
• Always equip your pet with identification. I.D. tags are helpful but must be worn at all times. Tattoo or microchip methods are very effective in helping to recover lost pets.
• Keep lawn chemicals and automotive fluids out of reach of pets to prevent accidental poisoning.
Taking simple precautions will go a long way in keeping your pet safe during the lazy days of summer.