Beating the Heat: The Word on Summer Pet Safety
It’s mid-July, and we’ve reached that part of summer when it feels like you could fry eggs on the sidewalk. Although many of us try to make every moment of the warm weather count by getting out and about with our furry friends, it’s important to remember that the high temperatures and humidity of late summer can put them at risk for heat-related emergencies.
Know the Signs
Heat-related illness in pets, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke, can be extremely dangerous. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, move him or her to a shady or indoor location, offer water, and call us immediately so we can help you to determine whether or not he or she needs emergency care:
- Excessive panting/drooling
- Pale, bright red, or blue gums
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of consciousness
Excessive thirst, or refusal to drink when you know that he or she should be thirsty, should also be considered warning signs.
Summer Pet Safety Tips
Keeping your pet safe from heat-related illnesses while still enjoying outdoor fun is easy to accomplish with a little planning and foresight on your part.
- Water – Just like humans, pets need more water than usual during the summer months. Besides keeping Fido or Fluffy’s regular water bowl full, make sure there is at least one bowl of fresh water outside at all times. Bring fresh water and a bowl everywhere you go with your pet, whether that’s on the daily walk to the park, at the beach, to the farmer’s market, or on a road trip.
- More water – Besides drinking, pets can use water for outdoor play. Kiddie pools, sprinklers, and squirt guns are all fun ways water-loving pets can keep cool while still enjoying the backyard.
- Shade, please – Regardless of whether or not your pet enjoys water play, shade is a must while pets are outdoors. Make sure your pet always has access to a shady spot to rest and relax (ideally, with a water bowl nearby).
- Exercise with care – Pets need daily exercise, regardless of the temperature. Keep your fur friend safe by limiting the daily walk or game of Frisbee to the early morning or evening hours, when temperatures are lower. Don’t forget to take frequent breaks for water and rest while out walking or hiking with a pet, to avoid a dangerous overheating situation.
- Special care – Senior pets, overweight and obese pets, pets with medical conditions, and brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed) are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness. Take extra special care when planning outdoor activities to protect these pets from the heat.
- Last but not least – Heatstroke that occurs when pets are left in parked cars is the number one cause of summer pet deaths. Keep your pet safe by never, ever leaving him or her in a parked vehicle, not even with the windows cracked, not even in the shade, not even for a moment. If you see that someone has left a pet inside a car, please call for help right away.