Although hot summer days are anticipated with joy and excitement, they also bring potential dangers to our furry friends. From mild dehydration to symptoms of a heatstroke, the blistering heat can be our pets’ worst enemy if we get too relaxed in the sun. Consider these safety tips on keeping your four-legged companion healthy and protected in severe heat and humidity.
Cool From the Inside Out
A popular misbelief is that a wet coat cools down a dog or a cat. On the contrary, during thick humidity, dog’s soaked fur against the floor (or even bed padding) will produce even higher humidity, surrounding your pooch with stuffy and hot air. On top of that, submerging your cat, for instance, in water will not end without getting scratched all over.
Although splashing water or bathing your pet will help decrease body temperature, cooling from the inside out will best help with full refreshment. Making ice snacks and pet popsicles are the simplest way to chill them. Plain ice chips or cubes are a fantastic refreshment snack – your pet will enjoy slowly licking on the ice, which will refresh their mouth as well as keeping them hydrated.
Provide Plenty of Shade and Water
The simplest and easiest way to keep a pet safe from a scorching day is by keeping their resort fresh and welcoming. If you keep your pet outdoors most of the day, make sure he or she has a terraced or covered sleeping and playing area.
It goes without saying that fresh cold water should always be accessible to your furry companion. Consider getting cooling water bowls that maintain low temperatures up to 15 hours without having to refreeze it. Cat water fountains are also a fun and efficient accessory for keeping your kitty cool and hydrated. They are easy to put together and very attractive for cats who are drawn by the constant water splashing.
Prepare for Summertime Grooming
Long-coated dogs and cats are mostly affected by the unpleasant humidity, especially pets who are kept outside all the time. You can help your animal companion with regular and thorough grooming. That said, if you’re not skilled at cutting animal fur, it’s best to turn to professional groomers who are equipped and skilled to shape your dog’s hair properly. Regular brushing/combing, on the other hand, is something any pet enthusiast can do. It not only liberates the animal from the excess fur but also puts immense shedding under control during the summer season.
Yes, bright summer days are perfect for walks and picnicking, but direct exposure to the sun can be hazardous for animals. Amidst blazing noon you don’t really need to force walking, even in the shade, as there are high chances for dehydration and exhaustion from severe heat.
Instead, go for walks in the early morning or later evening when the temperature is pleasant and acceptable. Bear in mind that your pet can’t really signal in any way when affected by the heat, so the time you notice excessive panting, fatigue, and stumbling, it’s probably already time for an emergency vet checkup.
Never EVER Leave a Pet Alone in a Parked Car
The notorious image of a dog desperately nudging its nose through a barely cracked car window is judged for a reason. In direct sun, your car will quickly reach unbearable temperatures that are extremely dangerous. Combined with stuffiness and the claustrophobic atmosphere, it can have deadly consequences for small or already unhealthy animals.
Simply put, if you are not in the position to take your pet with you when leaving the car, then make better arrangements and leave the pet at home. Your animal’s safety and health should be a priority and never compromised.
Recognize and Address Signs of Heatstroke
Heat exhaustion occurs when there is overheating of the brain due to prolonged exposure to direct heat. Telltale signs in animals include:
- Disorientation and dizziness
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Excessive panting or heaving
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme thirst
- Profuse salivation
- Rapid heartbeat
- Deep red or purple tongue
- Watery eyes
Animals that already suffer from health conditions such as respiratory problems, obesity, heart conditions, or very old or young animals are at a higher risk of heatstroke in the summer heat. Essential safety measures include proper hydration and avoiding direct sunlight during really high temperatures.
If you happen to notice any of the above mentioned signs, consult with your vet as soon as possible. Before rushing to the clinic, move your pet into a cool, air-conditioned area, but not too cold as the abrupt temperature difference may shock the body. Apply cold towels or ice packs to their body, especially the head, neck, and chest area. Let them drink small amounts of cold water, or lick on ice chips to stop sickness and nausea.