With temperatures rising as we lean into the summer months, it is important to keep pet health and safety in mind. Given the heat, pet owners should be aware of potential risks, as well as opportunities to improve your furry friend’s quality of life while they have fun in the sun.
One common threat many acknowledge is excessive car temperature. While some owners may assume leaving windows rolled down a bit is enough to avoid overheating while an animal is left in a car, this still poses a serious threat when temperatures are high. “Avoid leaving animals unattended in vehicles for any amount of time, even if the windows are open,” said SICSA Pet Adoption & Wellness Center Vet Clinic Manager, Megan Dell.
Another potential, less obvious danger, can be found on the pavement. Pet owners should check pavement heat before allowing pets to walk on those surfaces with bare paws. Dell says owners can do this by pressing the back of their hand to the pavement for a few seconds. If the heat bothers your bare hand, it will almost certainly cause your pet discomfort. Try to avoid the issue by finding grassy areas for pet playtime and walks.
Outdoor time in general for pets should also be limited to avoid overheating. While pets are outdoors, they should have access to extra water and shaded areas to cool off. Their time outside should be restricted to a safe amount given the weather. Just as you would not lock a child outside in the heat for hours, you should not keep pets in these conditions.
Owners can also be proactive in monitoring symptoms of heat related ailments. Dell instructs owners to “Watch for excessive panting and lethargy in hot weather, these are early signs of heat stress.” Talk to your vet about how to treat your pet if they should develop heat stress.
We hope these tips can help you and your pet to stay safe and enjoy your time in the sun this summer!