Pet owners know that high temperatures and humidity can be dangerous for their fur coat-wearing friends, but often do not realize that moderate weather can also be risky. With summer kicking into high gear, we want to ensure that your pet has fun outdoors, but remains safe and does not overheat. Follow our handy guide filled with tips on keeping your pet cool and comfortable all summer long.
Tip #1: Check the forecast before going outside with your pet
Typically, mid-afternoon is the hottest, most humid part of the day, although the weather does not always follow the rules. When planning your pet’s walk or any outdoor activities, check the weather forecast— if the temperature and humidity stay at unbearable levels, stick to playing indoors.
Tip #2: Increase your pet’s water intake
Pets don’t always drink enough water each day, so encourage them to remain hydrated in hot weather with frozen treats. Freeze small portions of your pet’s favorite canned food, tuna, or low-sodium chicken broth for tasty snacks, or freeze a dish filled with water and some treats for a long-lasting food puzzle. To further entice your pet, purchase a water fountain that continuously provides fresh water.
Tip #3: Avoid shaving your pet
Although cutting your hair or shaving your beard may be a great way for you to cool off, that does not hold true for pets. A pet’s fur coat is specially designed to help regulate body temperature, keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and protect them against harmful ultraviolet radiation. Pet-friendly sunscreen should always be applied to pets with hair loss or thinning hair coats.
Instead of shaving your pet down to their skin, trim only the long hair, and brush them frequently. Regular grooming will remove loose hair and prevent mats, which can trap heat against the skin.
Tip #4: Play in the water to keep your pet cool
Water sports are not only a great way to keep your furry pal cool outdoors, but also to engage in exercise. Always ensure your pet is a strong swimmer or outfit them in a safety vest, and rinse the chlorine from their coat when they get out of the pool. You can also let your pet play in a sprinkler, splash pad, or child’s wading pool for shallow, but cool, fun.
Tip #5: Stay off the pavement when walking your pet
Walking across the hot pavement without shoes can be akin to walking across hot coals. Don’t make your pet pretend “the ground is lava,” because such games are no longer fun when they are real. Walk your four-legged friend on grass or dirt pathways under shade trees to ensure their paws do not blister or burn. If you cannot hold the back of your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, your pet can
Tip #6: Leave your pet at home when running errands
Although your furry pal may beg you to take them on a car ride so they can feel the breeze whipping through their fur, leave them at home during the summer. A car parked in the shade with the windows cracked can reach unbearable temperatures for pets, including on relatively mild 70-degree days. And, leaving the car running with the AC cranked is not safe, because your pet could knock the control knob and shut off the air, and the vehicle will rapidly overheat. Leave your pet at home with a long-lasting treat to ensure their safety.
Tip #7: Monitor your pet closely for overheating and heatstroke signs
Heatstroke can set in quickly if your pet plays too long or too hard in the hot summer sun, so watch them closely for:
- Excessive panting
- Heavy drooling
- Bloody diarrhea
If your pet begins to pant heavily or often lies down, they are ready for a break. Take them into the cool indoors, put a fan close by, and offer plenty of fresh, cool water. If your pet’s temperature is higher than 103 degrees, bathe them in cool water, and check their temperature every five minutes. Once their temperature has cooled, bring them to Lebanon Animal Hospital for a complete evaluation of their organ function.
Pets can easily play too hard outdoors when the temperature and humidity levels are high, and fall victim to heatstroke. If your furry pal is showing signs of overheating, contact our Lebanon Animal Hospital team immediately for help.