Summertime, as a rule, is the best time for your furry companion. Hiking adventures, trips to the park, playing in the water for a nice cooldown -- all while bonding with their favorite humans. What’s not to love? Well, the warmer the temperature, the higher risk for your pet.
Just like any other time of the year, there’s a lot of work that goes into owning a pet in the summertime. Below are some tips to help you out when the sun shines too hot.
Provide Water and Shade
Did you know that your pet doesn’t sweat the same way humans do? For example, dogs release heat through their paws and by panting, while humans sweat through all the skin on their body. For this reason, you want to supply plenty of shade that doesn’t obstruct airflow, like tree shade or tarps.
Just like for humans, water is very important for our pets, too. They drink water to bring down their body temperature and keep themselves hydrated. Always have water readily available! Another option to keep your pet hydrated in the summertime is to offer them wet food as an extra source of water intake.
Know the Signs of Overheating
Keep an eye out for possible signs of overheating in your pet. These include heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea and wobbly legs. If you notice any of these signs, move your pet to a cool place, put a cool, damp towel over the body and offer a drink of water. If they don’t improve quickly you may need to get them to a veterinarian.
Never Leave A Pet in the Car
Not even for a minute. On a hot day, temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels. For example, on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, 120 degrees. At that point, your pet could suffer irreversible organ damage, or worse.
(Not so) fun fact: 31 states have laws that either prohibit leaving an animal in confined vehicles under dangerous conditions or give civil immunity (so the rescuer can’t be sued) for a person who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle. So do yourself a favor: never bring your animal into a situation where you may be forced to leave them in the car.
Mind Your Steps
Pets heat and cool from the bottom up, which means we should try hard to keep their paw pads as cool as possible in the summer months. Try to keep your pet off cement or asphalt, as it can both burn paws and lead to overheating. Avoid the back of a pickup truck as well -- hot metal can burn paws quickly.
A couple solutions to this are walking primarily on grass and going on walks in the early morning or late evenings, rather than the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak. Another, much more fun option, is doggy booties! They keep your dog’s feet off hot surfaces and they’re super cute!
Keep Parasites Off
Parasites such as fleas, ticks and mosquitos are rampant in summertime. Give your pet proper medication to avoid Lyme, Bartonella, or other diseases that put your pet at risk.
Summer pet safety may seem like a daunting task, but it isn’t hard! As long as you put in some thought and attention toward the safety of your companion, you’ll be sure to make it a fun summer to remember -- for both you and your pet.
Keep updated this week as we provide further resources on the dos and don’ts of pets in the summer!