Your pets can’t tell you when they are uncomfortable or feeling the effects of the sun and heat. Make sure your pet stays healthy and happy this summer by following these tips.
- First and most importantly, know the signs of heat stroke/heat exhaustion. If your pet has any of these symptoms, take them to your vet right away.
- Labored breathing
- Tongue color will change from dark red to purple
- Fast pulse
- Go for walks early in the morning, before the sidewalks (and sun) get too hot. Remember, your pets don’t wear shoes, so the pads of their paws can be burned walking across particularly hot sand or asphalt.
- Leave your dog at home when going shopping or running errands – even on a seemingly cool day. On a 75 degree day, the interior of your car can reach 110 degrees in just 15 minutes even when parked in the shade. If your car is parked in the sun, it can QUICKLY reach temperatures of 160 degrees – even with the windows rolled down. Don’t risk your pets health or life. They will be much happier at home.
- If your dog has to be outside during the day, make sure they have plenty of shade and access to water. If there is enough space in your yard, fill a small plastic kiddie pool with ice water. This will help keep them cool AND give them something fun to chew on – dogs love ice cubes! Or, freeze a large block of ice and place it in the pool to keep the water cool longer.
- Do not shave your pet – especially cats. It may seem like a good way to help them cool down, but their fur actually protects them against overheating and sunburn. If you have an outdoor cat or dog with a heavy coat and are worried about too much fur, give them a quick trim and a good brushing every few days and make sure they have access to lots of water and shade.
- Apply sunscreen! Yes, I am talking about sunscreen on your pet. If your pet has a lighter colored coat they are more vulnerable to the harsh effects of the sun. Applying a thin coat of sunscreen to the tops of ears and nose (SPF 15 or higher), as well as any other patches where the skin shows through, can make all the difference.
- This is a super fun one! Take your dog to the river and let them jump in! Or, if you don’t have river access, turn on the sprinklers or hose and let them play – just make sure it is a water day if you live in a water regulated area.
Your pet is part of the family, so remember to take the same precautions with the summer heat as you do with yourself or your children.