Summertime can be a hard time for your pet, especially here in North Texas with the recent temperatures in the upper 90s and 100s. Its no wonder these are called the “Dog Days” of summer. It is important to take extra precautions with your pets when the weather gets into the upper digits. Even the healthiest cat or dog is at risk for dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn.
Heat can pose serious problems to your pet. Follow these simple steps in order to keep your pet healthy, safe and cool during these hot months.
To prevent heat stress:
- Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available to your pet at all times
- If kept in kennels or cages, provide adequate ventilation or air circulation such as a fan or open window
- When your pet goes outdoors, make sure there’s enough shade for your pet to sit or lay under.
- If your pet is tolerable to being wet, a mister or small plastic kiddie pool is a good idea to keep your pet nice and refreshed.
- Avoid walking dogs in the middle of the day. Early morning or late afternoons are perfect to walk your dog. Also avoid excessive exercise and bring a water bottle for them (as well as one for yourself).
- Never, ever leave your pet in parked vehicles on such hot days. A parked car can become a furnace even with the windows open.
- If your dog or cat has really long hair, consider a hair cut to keep them cool, but don’t cut it too short because they still need protection from the sun.
- Brushing your dog or cat can also prevent excessive heat problems.
- Any sunscreen product you use should be labeled specifically for use on animals.
If you own dogs or cats with short noses such as pugs or persians, are overweight or have cardiovascular or respiratory problems, they are more susceptible to heat stroke.
Signs of heat stress include:
- profuse panting and salivation
- difficulty breathing
- lethargy or fatigue
- bloody diarrhea
- warm, dry skin
- pale gums
- fainting spells
If your pet is undergoing heat stress, gradually try to reduce their temperature by spraying or immersing your pet with cool water. Applying ice packs to their head and neck are good too. Notify and take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. The doctor will examine your pet and determine what treatment is needed. The sooner your pet is treated, the better chance they have in recovering.
Follow these tips and you and your pet are sure to have an enjoyable and cool summer.