Be Sure To Follow These 8 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe and Cool in Summer -- Woof, Woof!
We wait all year for summer, then the long days are here to swim, play and sun. Our pets are part of our lives, so in many cases they are involved in the activities during the warmest months of the year.
But before you take your fur-covered pal out into the sunshine, make sure you understand how your pet handles the heat, as well as other summertime temptations. People process hot temps different than dogs. We can sweat. Dogs don’t sweat.
Dogs have a higher body temperature than people at about 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit and their bodies just aren't as efficient at cooling down as humans.
The only sweat glands your furry companion has are on his nose and the pads of his feet. The primary way he brings his body temp down is through panting and breathing.
8 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe on Summer Days
1. Dogs and cats can quickly dehydrate, so make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water at all times – but especially during hot weather. If your pet will be outside in the heat any length of time, he should have access to complete shade, preferably be on the cool grass, and have an ample supply of drinking water. Play in the sprinkler with your dog or hose down with cool water if outside for any length of time in hot weather.
2. Exercise your dog in the morning or evening during the coolest temps of the day, stay in the shade whenever possible, and keep all your animals indoors when it's extremely hot, generally considered to be 90 degrees F. or hotter.
3. Regardless of the time of day, don't overdo exercise sessions. Long periods of exercise in hot weather, even after the sun goes down, can bring on heatstroke – especially in flat-faced dogs that pant less effectively than breeds with longer muzzles.
4. Never, EVER leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle on a hot day. Your car or truck cab can become a furnace very quickly, even with the windows open, and can cause a fatal case of heatstroke in your beloved pet. Aside from the risk of serious illness or death for your pet, leaving pets unattended in vehicles in hot weather is illegal in many states.
5. Make sure your dog knows how to swim before giving her access to a pool, pond, lake or other body of water. Not all dogs, even breeds known for their affinity for water, instinctively know how to swim. Introduce your pup to water gradually and use a floatation device if possible, especially when boating. Even excellent swimmers can get injured or worn out from exertion and floatation devices can keep your dog in sight until rescued. If your dog doesn't listen to the 'come' command, always attach a long rope to flotation device so you can 'reel' your dog in if needed.
6. Don't walk or otherwise subject your dog (or cat) to hot pavement. Not only can this result in burns to tender paws, but because animals are close to the ground – and the ground is much hotter than the air – your animal can quickly overheat. And remember – the paws are a sweat gland.
7. Keep your pet safe from toxic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides commonly used during spring and summer months.
8. Be mindful of fireworks displays. Many animals suffer extreme fear from the noise, and the explosives themselves can be potentially hazardous to a curious pet.
Know the Signs of Overheating -- Symptoms your pet is overheated include:
• Excessive panting
• Difficulty breathing
• Elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees)
• Increased heart rate and respiration
• Weakness or collapse
• Diarrhea and vomiting
If you have an older pet, one that is overweight or obese, an animal with a heart or lung condition, or a dog or cat with a flat face, the very best thing you can do during hot summer days is keep your pet inside in the air conditioning, with plenty of cool, fresh water to drink.