7 Hot Tips for Summer Pet Safety Kennett Square
Summertime brings us longer days full of swimming, playing, beach trips, and outdoor activities, many of which we enjoy with our pets. That said, with hotter temperatures also come bigger risks for your pet– more potential for injuries, more possible skin infections, and even possibly heat stroke. One thing to keep in mind is that pets don’t sweat the same way humans do, and therefore they can more easily become overheated. Here are a few hot tips to keep in mind this season for summer pet safety while you enjoy some fun in the sun.
1– Keep water and shade readily available.
Dehydration for dogs and cats is something you really have to be aware of during the summer months. When dogs get hot, they get much thirstier than we do as humans. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration which include dry gums and excessive drooling. Also make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water to drink when you’re inside the house, and always be sure to bring water for your furry friend when you’re out and about.
Shade is also important. Your pet likely enjoys sunbathing, but direct sun exposure for extended periods of time can cause them to overheat or even lead to heat stroke. Make sure your summer adventures include plenty of opportunity to relax in the shade.
2– NEVER leave your pet in the car.
A lot of pets love riding in the car with you, but they will not enjoy being left in the car while you run errands. You might think that leaving your pet in the car for just a few minutes is no big deal, but rest assured, it can take less than 10 minutes for dogs and cats to develop heat stroke inside a hot vehicle. Not only is this dangerous for your pet, but it is actually illegal in 16 states that have “hot car” laws in place to prevent this. Take your pet with you or leave it at home. Also, if you see another pet left alone in a hot car, take action immediately. If you can’t find the pet’s owner, call the police.
3– Watch for symptoms of overheating.
A dog or cat’s normal body temperature is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures measuring higher than 104 F warrant concern while temperatures exceeding 106 F become life threatening. Watch for these symptoms that signal potential overheating:
- Thick drool
- Heavy panting
- Dry or bright red gums
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Wobbly legs
If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs of heat exhaustion, immediately move them to a cool place, give them water, soaking the fur with cool or tepid (not ice) water and directing a fan over their body will help speed cooling. Affected pets must be transported to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Please not put your dog in a vat of ice water or use ice to cool them.
4– Think about sunscreen.
Did you know that pets can actually get sunburned just like us? Especially pets with short hair or light colored hair, just like more fair skinned people, are more susceptible to sunburn. If you know you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time outdoors in the sun– perhaps on a beach trip– apply sunscreen to your pet just like you would to yourself. Cover the areas that are least protected by fur like the belly, ears, and nose. Be sure to only use sunscreen intended for pets. Check with your Longwood veterinarian for recommendations that make sense for your pet.
5– Keep those paws cool.
Another thing to bear in mind is your pet’s paws. Pets actually heat and cool from the ground up. If you’re out and about in the sun on a hot day, bear in mind that surfaces like cement and asphalt heat up and can burn paws. Not only can walking on hot surfaces burn your pet’s paws, but it can also cause their body temperature to increase and potentially lead to overheating. One great way to cool your pet off is to use a cool wet towel to wipe down their paws and belly. This will feel nice for your pet, and also help bring their body temperature back down. It’s also a good idea to plan to walk to your pet during the morning or evening, rather than midday when temperatures are highest. If the temperature of asphalt or concrete is too hot for the back of your hand to remain comfortably on the surface for a minimum of 7 seconds, it is too hot for your dog.
6– Don’t shave your pet.
Shaving your dog or cat might seem like a good idea to help avoid overheating, but a pet’s coat is actually designed to help with temperature regulation in both hot and cold conditions. It’s okay to trim your pet’s fur, but shaving it all off is not a good idea. Leave at least an inch of fur to help protect your pet’s skin from sunburn, and be sure to maintain your pet’s regular grooming regardless of the season.
7– Be mindful of parasites.
Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other parasites are practically everywhere during the summertime months. It’s important to be mindful of parasite prevention year round, but the summer can be the worst season for these pests. Work with your vet to find the best preventatives to use for your pet, and be sure to follow other necessary precautions and tips to keep your pet pest free this summer.
We hope these summer pet safety tips help you enjoy the most adventurous and fun season yet with your pet. If you have any questions or need assistance, work with our helpful staff at Longwood Veterinary Center. We’ll take great care of your furry companions!