Summer can be a great time to bond with your pet and it can be the most fun time of year for people and pets. Your pets love to be outdoors and the summer sunshine makes it equally inviting to their humans. The long, hot days of summer can mean outdoors, vacations, hikes, the beach, and parks for your pet.
When the days of outdoor activities, barbecues, and swimming pools roll around, no doubt your pets will be by your side. You can make their days safe by following a few summer tips.
1) Limit exercise on hot days: Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On extremely hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Always carry water with you to keep your dog away from dehydrating.
2) Provide ample shade and water: Any time your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for pets. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day, and during heat advisories, to rest in a cool part of the house. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they do not obstruct airflow. Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
3) Pets need sunscreen too: Though all that fur helps protect her, your pet can get sunburned, particularly if she has light skin and hair. Sunburn in animals can cause problems like those it can cause in people, including pain, peeling, and skin cancer. So, keep your pet out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and when you do go out, rub a bit of sunblock on unprotected areas like the tips of her ears, the skin around her lips, and the tip of her nose.
4) Cool your pet inside and out: You can help keep pets cool by spraying their paws, legs, and around their neck with water. You can also take an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel and rub it along their neck, down their back, legs, and over their paws.
5) Watch for signs of heatstroke: Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heatstroke if they are old, young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs like boxers, pugs, Shih Tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
6) How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke: Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest, or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian.
7) Do not leave your pets in the car: Do not leave your pet in the car, as your pet can suffer serious health effects in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air.
8) Do not tether them for long: It is not recommended to chain dogs for long periods of time. A pet confined in a shady area in the morning can be in the hot sun later in the day. Water bowls need to be placed and secured in a manner that prevents spilling. Adequate water during extreme temperatures is critical to preventing dehydration and assisting the pet’s body in cooling. If you jog with your pet, it is recommended you do so in the early or late hours of the day, when it is cooler.
9) Keep windows and doors closed: Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.
10) Street smarts: When the temperature is extremely high, do not let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
11) Keep them well-groomed: It will help her hair do what it was designed to do: protect her from the sun and insulate her from the heat. If she has extremely thick hair or a lot of mats and tangles, her fur may trap too much heat, so you may want to clip her.
12) Do Not let them drink from the street: Hot weather may tempt your pet to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it is extremely toxic. When you are walking your pet, make sure she does not sneak a drink from the street.
13) Continuous availability of water: Whether you are indoors or out, both you and your pet need access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check her water bowl several times a day to be sure it’s full.
Summer is a great time to make fun memories with your pet. Bonding with your dog is easy in this season because there are so many activities that you can participate in outdoors. From trips to the lake to park picnics, it is important to remember that pets are overly sensitive to the summer heat as they cannot sweat to keep cool the way that we can. Make sure you know how to keep your dog safe so you can both have a fun summer.
Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic and Tates Creek Animal Hospital are premier clinics in Lexington, KY. We provide a full range of services covering every health need of your furry companion, including critical and specialty pet care. To schedule an appointment or for any queries, please contact us at 859.263.5037 or 859.273.1933.