Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer
Pets Require Extra Care When Temperatures Rise
April 16, 2012
The largest concern for pets in the summer is obviously the heat. Proper care must be taken to ensure that your pet does not suffer while outside in hot weather. If your pet is going to be outside for any extended period, make sure they have access to plenty of cold, clean water. It is also important that your pet has a spot in the shade where they can rest and cool down. If you take your pet with you on a car trip, never leave them locked inside while the car is parked! Even with the windows cracked, temperatures rise rapidly inside a car, putting your pet in a very dangerous situation.
Make sure to keep an eye on your pet in hot weather for signs of overheating. These symptoms can include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, or even a collapse. Signs of an elevated level of overheating include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Bulldogs or Persian cats, are at a higher risk of heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Pets at a high risk also include elderly or overweight pets, or those with heart or lung diseases. These pets should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
While your pet still needs exercise during the summer months, be careful not to overwork them. When temperatures rise, your pet can become exhausted quickly, and are at risk of dehydration or even heat stroke. If taking your dog for a walk, try to keep them off the hot asphalt as much as possible to avoid burns on their paw pads. You can help your dog stay cooler by giving them a short haircut, but do not cut its hair shorter than one inch, so that your dog still has protection from the sun. You can also help your cat stay cooler by brushing its fur often. Only use sunscreen that is specifically labeled for animals on your pet.
Keep an eye on your pet if they are near a swimming pool. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Most dogs can be taught to swim easily, but make it a gradual process until you are confident in your dog’s swimming ability. Make sure dogs wear flotation devices while on a boat, even if they know how to swim.
By following these tips, you and your pet should be prepared for another great summer. For more information on caring for pets in hot weather, contact Halifax Humane Society at (386) 274-4703 to speak with the animal experts on staff.