Long days bursting with fun and sun have rolled around again. With the temperatures kicking into high gear, outdoor activities can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Whether your pooch is tagging along on a hike, swimming at the beach, or enjoying a game of fetch in the backyard, be sure to practice top-notch summertime safety techniques. Check out our list of deadly deeds to avoid this summer:
- Insufficient water. Just like us, our pets will consume more water during the hot summer months. Always be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water, especially while your pets are outside enjoying the sunshine with you. For a cooling and entertaining treat, stuff a rubber Kong with wet food or peanut butter and chill it in the freezer. For kitties, use an ice cube tray to create ice cubes from tuna or meat-based baby food.
- Poor ventilation. Nothing feels better than a cool breeze blowing across your face on a summer day. Imagine being confined to a doghouse, barn, garage, or small room with no airflow. With no air moving through these enclosed spaces, they can quickly become suffocating. Fans provide cooling relief for people by evaporating our sweat, but since most of the sweat glands in animals are on their feet, fans aren’t nearly as beneficial to them. To use a fan in the most effective way, first wet your pet down to help heat dissipate when the water evaporates from the fur. Also, keep your pet well-groomed and her haircoat free from mats to help cool air circulate close to the skin.
- Absence of shade. Seeing a cat sunbathing on a windowsill is a common occurrence, but soaking up too much sun can lead to heat-related illnesses. Always provide well-ventilated shady areas for your pet, which will allow her to escape the blazing sunshine.
- Inappropriate exercise. Die-hard joggers know the best time to head out for a run is early morning or late evening. The same is true for our pets. Enjoy outdoor activities when the temperature and humidity levels are lower to prevent overheating. While out for a run, make sure to avoid scorching sidewalks and direct sunlight. Your pooch’s paws can quickly become burnt while strolling along hot pavement. Also, be sure to limit activity during the heat of the day. For the dog who will chase a ball until she drops, be the voice of reason and call it quits early on. Exercise with caution on these sizzling days.
- Leaving pets in the car. Even if the windows are cracked in your vehicle, the temperature inside can rise by 19 degrees in as little as 7 minutes. Running errands on a gorgeous 70-degree day can still cause overheating if your pet tags along. Leaving your pet inside your car for just 30 minutes can cause that 70-degree temperature to shoot up into triple digits. Keep your furry friend safe at home.
- Lack of supervision around bodies of water. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a dip in a pool or lake. But remember, not all dogs are well-versed in the doggy paddle and some may have difficulty swimming. Before venturing into the water, accustom your dog to wearing a life vest. A brightly colored vest not only lets your dog stay afloat, it also provides visibility to boaters and other swimmers. If you’re enjoying a river or ocean, keep an eye on the current. A riptide can quickly sweep your pooch far away from safety in seconds. In stagnant water, such as ponds or lakes, be on the lookout for blue-green algae, which is toxic.
- Ignoring signs of heatstroke. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into a heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention. Without quick and appropriate medical intervention, your pet can even die from becoming overheated. Watch out for these signs warning of an impending heat stroke:
- Heavy panting
- Drooling excessively
- Unsteady gait
- Dry or bright red gums
Pets who are overweight, thick-coated, very young or elderly, or flat-faced are more susceptible to heatstroke.
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy our favorite activities with our pets. Unfortunately, many dangers are lurking that can prey on unsuspecting owners and their canine and feline friends. If you have concerns about summer safety for your pet, or if you suspect heat stroke, call us at 704-827-742