Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be outdoors with your furry companion, but it’s HOT! Even though dogs DO sweat (not very much) it doesn’t do much to help them cool down. As you probably know, dogs commonly cool themselves through panting, but it’s a lot harder for dogs to keep cool and breath in hot air.
To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:
- Visit the vet for an early summer check-up. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm and get them on a year-round preventive medication. Also make sure they are protected against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
- Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart and lung diseases, should be kept in cool, air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers! If your dog jumps in your swimming pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Perhaps provide your dog with his own “kiddy pool.” Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking the pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
- Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog; the layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Yes, believe it or not, dogs can get sunburned! Dogs especially susceptible are those with short or light-colored coats.
- Don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt or concrete. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and paw pads can burn.
- We’ve all heard this before, but it’s worth mentioning again (and again!) Never, ever, EVER leave your pet in a hot car. It can take only minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a vehicle. On a nice 78 degrees day, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and 160 degrees in direct sun! It’s a better idea to leave your dog at home on hot days.
Remember, pets cannot cool themselves as easily and efficiently as humans can and will need their owners to help protect them from this Texas heat. Always provide fresh, clean, cool drinking water, and a shady area for your pet. Make sure to supervise swimming excursions. Know the signs of overheating and avoid hot asphalt and concrete. And never, ever, EVER leave your pet in a hot car.
Sienna at 6 Veterinary Hospital
8790 Hwy 6 #100
Missouri City, Texas 77459
Written by Amy Curbello – Veterinary Technician at Sienna at 6 Veterinary Hospital