Summer’s here, and that means there are some important things to think about when it comes to your pets. Warm weather can be dangerous for our pets. It’s hard for them to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and that’s because animals don’t sweat as people do. You probably knew that dogs cool themselves through panting, but did you know that they sweat through their paws too? When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool.
While cats tend tolerate the heat a little better than dogs, and even prefer it (we’ve all seen a cat stretched out on a sunny windowsill), that doesn’t mean that you should forget about your cat this summer.
Never, ever, ever leave your pet in a hot car. One of the most life-threatening mistakes people can make is to leave a dog in a vehicle in hot weather. When the air dogs are taking in is too hot (as it is in a parked car in hot weather), then panting has little cooling effect. The dog quickly overheats.
Many people think their dog will be OK if they leave the windows open, but even with the windows wide open, the car can quickly become hot enough to cause heatstroke, brain damage, and even death. Your pet may pay dearly for even a few minutes spent in a sweltering car.
Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting that does not resolve as the pet rests, increasing distress, a tongue color that is dark red to almost purple, weakness or collapse, hypersalivation, vomiting and laboured breathing. If you suspect a dog or cat is suffering from heat stroke, move him to a cooler environment immediately and apply cool water to the abdomen, ears and foot pads. Don’t pour ice water over the whole animal, submerge him in a tub of cold water or cover him in a cold, wet blanket. Once he is stable, get him to a vet as quickly as possible, even if he seems to be cooling down and his temperature seems normal. Things may be happening on the inside that are not obvious from the outside.
Keep the paws in mind
If you walk your dog on a leash, keep in mind that asphalt can get very hot during the summer. In fact, it can get hot enough to burn a dog’s pads. That means causing him pain for days. You might want to do only short walks early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are lower. Before taking your dog for a walk, check the ground for hotness with one of your own hands or bare feet. If you can’t keep your hand (or foot) on the ground for more than three seconds, it’s probably too hot to walk your furry friend. Dogs who are older or overweight, have a thick coat or have a pushed-in nose — such as bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs — are especially at risk of overheating. On walks, bring water for both you and your pet, or a collapsible bowl if there’s a water source on your route.
Water and shade
If your dog stays outside during the day, make sure his water bowl isn’t in a place where he will tip it over. Water bowls can be tipped over by dogs trying to make a cool spot to lie down. If necessary, buy a tip-proof water bowl. Also, make sure he has a shady place where he can get relief from the sun. Kiddie pools are a nice way to give dogs their own clean puddle in which to play.
If you have a pet with a thick coat, consider a haircut! One inch is a good length to avoid sunburn — yes, pets can get sunburns too.
Keep your windows screened
We all know cats love windowsills. You may want your house to be ventilated, but you definitely do not want your kitty to fall out!
Stay safe at barbeques
Backyard barbeques are a lot of fun, but the food and drinks offered can be bad for pets. Keep your pets away from alcohol and foods like grapes, onions, and chocolate.
Keep your pets away from fireworks
The dangers are obvious — pets are at risk for fatal injuries and painful burns if they are allowed to run around freely when fireworks are launched. Some fireworks also contain chemicals toxic to pets like potassium nitrate and arsenic. Not to mention, the loud noises can be frightening and disturbing to pets. Remember, their hearing is many times better than ours.
No rides in the back of open trucks
You should never let your dog ride in an open pickup truck since truck beds are often dark colors, which can get very hot. And your furry friend can burn his paws, which means days of pain.