Humans aren’t the only ones at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Our furry family members are susceptible as well. Know the dangers, take precautions, and help keep your pets safe this summer.
Nora Stephens from Best Friends Animal Hospital in Statesboro shares some tips to help keep your pets safe in the heat:
Summer is here, and with summer comes hot weather! Know the symptoms of overheating in your pet. Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, weakness, or even collapsing. More severe symptoms of heat exhaustion can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and a body temperature of over 104 degrees. Here are a few tips to avoid heat exhaustion in your pet!
- Avoid situations that put your pet at risk! Be careful not to over-exercise your pets, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot outside.
- When the temperature is very high, asphalt and sidewalks are significantly hotter! The pads of your dog’s paws can burn easily. Keep walks during the hours where the sun is setting or rising. If it’s too hot for you to walk bare-foot, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws!
- Know if your pet is less tolerant to warmer weather conditions. Dogs and cats with flatter faces, like pugs, bulldogs, and Persian cats, are at a higher risk of heat stroke since they cannot pant as well. Also, pets that are seniors, overweight, or have heart or lung issues, should be kept cool in air-conditioned homes.
- During these hot and humid months, your pets can become dehydrated quickly! Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water available whenever it’s outside. Larger breed dogs with deep chests should avoid becoming very active before or after consuming large amounts of water.
- Also, make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun to keep cool when they’re outside. Shaded areas can be significantly cooler during warmer weather.
- Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but don’t have your dog shaved too close to the skin: Their fur will help protect them from getting sunburn. If you’re using sunscreen on your pet, ensure it is a pet-friendly safe product!
- Summer time also brings more frequent cook outs. Remember, human food is not ideal for your fur babies. Foods high in fat and salt can lead to many issues with your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms can range from diarrhea and vomiting to a condition as serious as pancreatitis! Therefore, you should avoid giving them yummy bites of your food, no matter how much they beg.
- Parasite protection is important year-round, however, external parasites are more noticeable and prevalent to pet owners during warmer months. Make sure your pet is protected against heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Tick borne diseases are a risk to your pet and you, so keep your family of all shapes and sizes safe!
- If you have a pet that stays solely outdoors, please consider doggy day care during high temperatures. Your pet will be more comfortable and not be exposed to harsh temperatures that put them at risk of heat stroke. Contact your veterinarian for recommendations!
- Most importantly- Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Car temperatures rise quickly! It only takes minutes. In those minutes, your pet can experience a fatal heat stroke. Cracking the windows will not make the vehicle cool enough for your pet. Whenever running errands leave your pet at home in air-conditioning or look into a doggy day care option to ensure their safety.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns involving your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian.
Click images to enlarge.