Summer should be fun for everyone, pets included. As you enjoy the sunny summer months, think about how your activities will affect your furry friends.
The Great Outdoors – Most humans love to be outside in the summer. We often eat popsicles, sip cold drinks and pop in and out of the air conditioning. Now imagine wearing a fur coat while enjoying your summer activities. Talk about hot!
Keep an eye on your pets when they are outside this summer. Make sure cool water is always available and make sure they have access to shady spots. Consider putting out a kiddie pool or sprinkler when you're around to supervise. Just like us, many dogs love to play in the water and it will help cool them off. A good general rule is if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pets.
Fireworks – Fireworks are a spectacular summer tradition for many people, but they can be incredibly frightening for your pet. Dogs may jump out of their fenced yard and cats may startle and run into the road. For your pet’s safety, keep your pets indoors when there will be fireworks. No one wants to follow a July 4th party with a July 5th trip to the animal shelter to search for a lost pet.
Cars – When it’s 78⁰F outside, a closed car can reach 90⁰F in just five minutes and 110⁰F in 25 minutes. Instead of a dangerous summer car ride, show your pet you love him by leaving him at home in the air conditioning with a tasty chew.
Pavement – Many of us know to bring plenty of water for walks during those hot summer days. We may also know to watch for signs of heat stroke. What we may forget when we lace up our sneakers and head out with our dog is that the pavement can be much hotter than the temperature outside. A simple test: put the back of your hand on the pavement and leave it for at least seven seconds. If that’s not comfortable for you, then you run the risk of burning your dog’s sensitive paw pads. Try walking early in the morning or late at night when the pavement will be cooler or sticking to a grassy area.
Heat doesn’t just affect dogs - Rabbits have dense fur and do not tolerate heat well. Did you know rabbits don't sweat? Unlike dogs, they can't pant effectively to cool themselves. it is best to keep your rabbits inside and out of the heat and humidity during the summer. Cats only pant or sweat through their pads on their paws so they can overheat quickly. If you have outdoor cats, provide shade and plenty of cool water.
Know the signs of heat stress/stroke
Signs to look for: excessive panting or grooming, drooling, lethargy, stumbling, sweaty paws (cats), vomiting, redness of the tongue or mouth
If you start to see these signs, get your pet in a cool spot immediately, offer cool water to drink and call your veterinarian.