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Your Pets and Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

It's hot outside and it's going to get hotter.

We all enjoy spending the warmer months exploring the outdoors with our favorite furry companions. But with temperatures rising very quickly, be sure not to put your pet in harms way. Check out some heat safety tips for keeping your pets safe in hot weather.

Here are some Helpful Tips for keeping dogs and cats safe in the extreme heat.

  • Limit Exercise on Hot Days. Often times, dogs don’t know when they need to just take a break, so it’s important to stop for water and frequent shaded breaks. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

  • Assume they are always thirsty! Give your pet extra water. Staying hydrated is crucial on hot days to avoid illness. Whether your pet is indoors or outdoors, be sure to fill their water bowls several times a day. Always assume they need extra water on hot days.

  • Protect your pet’s paws from hot surfaces. Walk your pet in the grass or the shade whenever possible. A quick tip: if the pavement is too hot for your bare hands or feet, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.

  • Take extra care with older dogs. Just like older humans, older dogs can be especially susceptible to higher temperatures. Be patient and take the extra time to make sure they are comfortable. Ideally, they are outside for quick bathroom trips and in an air conditioned house, or day care.

  • Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your dog. You read that right. Yes, sunburn can affect pets the same way it affects humans! This includes similar side effects, such as pain, peeling, and even some skin cancers. We advise you use a pet-safe sunscreen on unprotected areas, like the tips of the ears, the skin around the lips, and the tip of the nose. A good rule of thumb for sunscreen: If it’s safe for babies, it’s safe for your pets.

  • Don’t leave windows open while you’re pets are unattended. Don’t rely on window screens to keep your pet from falling.

  • Short Nose Warning. Animals with short noses such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and Persian cats, are especially vulnerable in the heat. Dogs and cats cool themselves by breathing through their mouths, but those with flat faces cannot cool as quickly and need extra attention.

  • Don't rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

  • Prepare for Power Outages. Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.

  • Never leave your pet in a car. On a mild to hot day, temperatures in a closed car (even with the windows cracked) can exceed 120 degrees in minutes, creating a very dangerous condition for any animal. Cracking a window or parking in the shade does not help.

  • When in doubt, stay indoors. Avoid being outside for long periods of time during the hottest time of the day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Animals can get sick quickly on hot days, even if they are in the shade.

As always, if you think your pet is in distress due to the heat, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.


The Town House for Dogs & Cats

Source: The Human Society, WebMD, 2021

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