Summer has arrived! The sun is shining, and people (and their pets) are getting outside and active in the summer warmth. While we encourage you to include your pet in your fun activities, hot temperatures and outdoor activities can present potential dangers for pets. Here are our top 5 tips for keeping pets safe when the temperature rises:
1. Trim, But Don’t Shave: Wondering what to do with all that long pet hair during the warmer months? Believe it or not, your dog’s coat has layers of fur that actually protect her from overheating, heat exhaustion, and sunburn. It is recommended that you do not shave your dog, but a trim might be helpful to keep the fur manageable. Also, for better air circulation, brushing and bathing regularly during the summer is beneficial.
2. Stick to Shade and Water: Proper hydration is very important! Pets can dehydrate fairly quickly. Make sure there is plenty of clean, fresh water available to your pet when outdoors. Remember to provide a shady area when enjoying the outdoors with your pet. Also, doghouses can actually make the heat worse for dogs, so we recommend the shade from trees, large umbrellas, or tarps. If it is extremely hot outside, err on the side of caution and keep your pets indoors.
3. Problem with Parked Cars: Please do NOT leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Not even for a few minutes. On an 80-degree day, the car’s interior temperature can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. Cracking or rolling down the windows isn’t a very effective solution and does not reduce the temperature in the car enough to make it safe for pets. While it isn’t currently illegal in the state of Ohio to leave your animal unattended in a parked vehicle in extreme weather, many states have statutes in place that prohibit leaving an animal confined in a vehicle. If you see a pet in a parked car, here are some tips to help.
4. Limit Exercise: While physical activity is important for pets, extreme heat can be dangerous. Limit the exercise and stick to the cooler time periods of the day, such as early morning or later in the evening. Be sure to keep the pads of your pet’s paws off the hot asphalt, as they can burn. And don’t forget to bring along some water when you are exercising with your pet to reduce the risk of dehydration.
5. Cool Off with Tasty Treats: We enjoy ice-cold drinks and ice cream on hot days, and we think it’s only fair that your furry companions get a special treat too! Make a yummy snack like Peanut Butter Pup-sicles for dogs to enjoy. Just keep in mind that there are some summer treats to avoid feeding your pets.
A Word of Caution: If your pet is showing signs of heat stress, such as a rapid pulse, heavy panting, unsteadiness, or glazed eyes, move her to a cooler area and lower her body temperature gradually with cool water all over the body. You can also use cool wet towels on the body and offer water for your pet to drink, but please don’t force her to drink. We recommend taking your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
We hope you have a very fun, and very safe, summer with your pets!