Keep your pets safe during hot summer days

July 21, 2014

Today’s temperatures are expected to reach the 90’s so it’s important to remember that heat and humidity can be dangerous for all living creatures including our pets. Hot temperatures can be very dangerous for our four-legged friends. They can succumb to heat stroke, dehydration and even get sunburned – all of which can be prevented. Follow these tips to keep your dog safe:

  • On hot days, leave your pet inside with the air conditioning on and plenty of water. If your dog must be left outside, leave him in the shade with plenty of fresh, cool water in a tip proof bowl, or even a kiddie pool filled with cool water.
  • Ensure that your pet always has access to cold water. In addition, you can:
    • Provide ice cubes for your pets to chew on
    • Give frozen “Kongsicles” (a Kong stuffed with canned food and then frozen) or frozen food patties
    • Wrap ice in bandanas and put it around their necks
    • Wet down and freeze towels to give them something cool to lie on
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Cracked windows won’t protect your pet from overheating or suffering heat stroke on hot days.
  • Limit exercise to morning or evening hours. Take extra care with older pets, overweight pets and short nosed dogs.
  • Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws. If the ground is too hot for you to comfortably go barefoot, it is too hot for your dog.
  • Keep your pet well groomed. A matted coat traps in heat. Resist the temptation to shave off your pet’s hair in an effort to keep him cool. Your pet’s coat will protect him from getting sunburned.

By the time your dog is exhibiting the first symptoms of overheating, he’s already experiencing discomfort. The signs of heat stroke are: excessive panting or drooling, anxious or staring expression, fast pulse rate and high body temp which can lead to vomiting, staggering gait, non-responsiveness and collapse. As soon as you see any of these signs, put cool water on their legs (running water or by standing in a kiddie pool) which will slowly and safely lower their body temperature. Avoid covering their whole body in really cold water which can actually cause additional problems. Then get your pet to a veterinarian immediately.