Dog Days of Summer
Summer can be a lot of fun. You and your pet can go for long walks, road trips, and spend all your spare time outside. The beautiful sunsets, the fantastic fairs, and quaint farmers markets are just begging to be enjoyed.
Yes, you have the summer all planned out with all the things you want to do. But be sure to take care of your best friend, too. Summer can be dangerous for the pets in your life. There are high temperatures, lack of water, high humidity, and a hot sun that can harm your pet. Follow these important tips to make sure you and your pet get the most out of your summer.
Find a Shady Spot
One of the best ways to keep your pet healthy is to get out of the sun. Sit by some of the nice shady trees on your walking path for a while. Getting out of the sun gives your dog a break from some of the intense heat. While dark colored dogs will attract more of the sun, the light-colored dogs or those with little hair can get sunburned. Taking a break in the shade will do all dogs a favor. And you get a break too, so everyone wins. Sitting in the shade is a great time for pets and owners to enjoy some cool water, too.
On days when it is particularly hot or humid, try to limit the activity of the pet during the hottest parts of the day as much as possible. Exercising early in the morning or late in the evening are the best ways to avoid the heat. When the heat and humidity ratchet up, stay calm and quiet inside or in a shady place with good airflow and plenty of water. This will keep your pet from experiencing the worst of the heat. Pets deal with heat differently than people. A fan may not be enough to properly cool you pet in the hottest days of summer. But most dogs love little pools.
Cars are Hot
Before you embark on that road trip or even that quick run into the store, remember that cars heat upvery quickly and can easily become dangerous for your pet. On an 85-degree day, the average temperature in a car is 102 degrees after just 10 minutes of sitting in the sun. And the temperature only goes up from there. Cracking the windows open does not make a big difference. Your pet may quickly become overheated without you being aware of how bad your pet is feeling. If you run into a store while your pet is in the car, leave the car running with the air conditioner on (and preferably a note to let others know). If this is not possible, simply don’t stop at the store with your pet in the car. Take the pet someplace else, like home, and then make a separate trip back to the store. It may mean more time and more gas, but it may save the life of your best friend.
Know the Signs
Heatstrokeis a condition that can become fatal for animals. Knowing the signs can give you enough time to react and seek medical attention before problems become irreversible. Heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy, lack of coordination, fever, dizziness, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue are signs of heatstroke. If steps are not taken to control the body temperature of your pet, seizures and unconsciousness will follow and can lead to irreparable damage or even death.
The animals most at risk are the very old, very young, obese, those with short muzzles (like bulldogs and boxers), and those with preexisting medical conditions. The best way to treat heatstroke is to move the animal to a shaded or airconditioned space with lots of water and airflow. Provide additional cool water in packs or towels on the animal’s body. Then seek medical attention with your veterinarian or emergency care center.
By following some simple tips, you and your pet can have a great summer and enjoy all the things that are out there to enjoy. Be careful and keep a close eye on your pet for signs of heatstroke and be ready to act if your pet is overheated. Provide lots of water, shade, and never keep your pet in a car on hot days. With your best friend’s safety in mind, go out and make the most of your summer while you can. It won’t last long so enjoy it while it’s here.