Dec 05 , 2019
It is still technically spring, but the hot and humid weather is already here. Heat Awareness Day was May 31st, so here are some tips on protecting your pets in hot weather.
- Never leave your pets in a car, even if the windows are cracked. Dogs and cats pant, this helps cool themselves by precipitating convection. Their panting exchanges hot air for cooler air and if their air isn’t cooler than their body temperature, then this cooling system doesn’t work and they could get a heat stroke. Temperatures in vehicles can rise quickly, so don’t leave your pets in the car while you take a quick trip to the store. Studies have shown that even on a 75° day, temperatures in vehicles can reach up to 100° in just 10 minutes—it’s even higher for darker colored cars. It’s better to leave your pets at home.
- Keep plenty of fresh water accessible in deep bowls. Dogs lose moisture much faster than humans—all that heavy panting does take a toll. Have deep bowls filled with fresh water accessible for your pets. The deep bowl will keep the water cooler longer. Add some ice cubes to prolong the chill.
- Avoid burnt paws. If the pavement is too hot for your feet, then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Always check the pavement before bringing your pet outside or for a walk. Excessively hot pavement can burn your pet’s paws and that’s not good for anyone.
- Be sensible about exercise. Exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun’s intensity is less. Always keep a watchful eye out for heat stress, though. Symptoms can include excessing panting, increased salivation, glassy eyes, and pale gums.
- Maintain their coat. A shaggy coat can actually help insulate your pets against the heat; however, a thick undercoat can be troublesome. Give them a summer trim and brush them regularly to help them shed their undercoat.
- Do you suspect heatstroke? If you think your pet has overheated, place cool wet washcloths on the head and neck. Do not place ice cold cloths because this can do more harm than good. A cool compress on the belly and the back of the legs is also good for keeping the body temps down. Most importantly, call your vet right away if you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke.