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Beat the Heat With These Summer Pet Safety Tips

Posted June 28, 2016

It doesn’t matter if you have a cat, dog or rabbit, if you think it is hot, guaranteed your pet does too. The only problem is that you can vocalize how you feel much easier than they can. Pets are susceptible to the heat too and are at risk of suffering from heat stroke because they simply cannot tell us that they are too hot – or they are just having too much fun outside to care!
In hopes that everyone can enjoy the summer to the fullest, we have provided some tips for our pet parents to help their fur babies beat the heat and stay healthy.

1. Water them. Ensure that your pets have access to water at all times.  Try to keep water fresh and cool if possible (place dish in the shade or place ice cubes in the water).  Remember to put out multiple bowls on really hot days.  If you’re out, always carry a compact portable pet water bowl.

2. Don’t leave anyone behind. Please do not leave your pets in the car – even if it is just for a couple minutes and the windows are down or if it is running with the air conditioning on.  Temperatures elevate quickly in vehicles and it only takes minutes to cause irreversible organ damage or worse.

3. Humidity isn’t just hard on hair. When the humidity is high, it can cause a pet’s temperatures to rise because they become unable to cool themselves.  Body temperatures can rise very quickly and become dangerous.

4. It’s ok to be shady sometimes. Many cats and dogs love to bask in the sun, but too much time in the sun can cause heat stroke and even increase the risk of developing skin cancers.  Be sure to provide your fur babies with a shady area to retreat to, especially if they are in an enclosure.  Also be aware that pets can get sunburns and burns too – ear tips are sensitive to the sun, paw pads are sensitive to hot surfaces, etc.  To help protect and soothe paw pads, try NHV Heal Care Ointment for cats and dogs.

5. Circulate, circulate, circulate. If your house does not have air conditioning, ensure that you have some sort of airflow/ventilation.  Even a slight breeze will be appreciated by your furry friend.  If possible elevate their bed so that air can get underneath – you could try a cat hammock.  Please note that fans do not cool pets as well as they do for us humans, so do not rely on a fan only.

6. Walk with care. Exercise will need to be limited on especially hot days.  Try to go for walks or have play time early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler and try to keep the exertion level lower.  Instead of using the sidewalk, go on the grass, it will be easier on their paws.  Make sure to keep a bottle of water with you when you leave the house and bring an extra one for your fur pal as well!

Tips:

  • If your pooch must walk on a hot surface for a period of time, you may wish to consider doggy booties to help protect their feet.
  • Popsicles aren’t just for people! Make some yummy peanut butter popsicles or freeze some of their favorite treats – this will help cool them from the inside. You can also freeze a favorite chew toy or cuddle buddy for added relief.
  • Go for a swim! Jumping into a lake, or even having a kiddie pool that your pets can splash in will help to cool them off. Swimming can also be a substitute for going for a walk.
  • Check your pet regularly for signs of burns or discomfort.
  • Some longer haired pets may benefit from a haircut. Check with your vet to see if this might be an option for your pet.
  • When creating your disaster plan, whether it be for power outages or natural disaster, make sure to include your pet in mind too!

Watch for signs of heat stroke:

  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse or unconsciousness
  • Excessively sweaty paw pads
  • Seizures

What do you do if you notice the above symptoms? If you suspect your pet may have heat stroke contact your local veterinary clinic.

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