Keeping Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

There are few places on earth that can escape the powerful summer sun. Summer temperatures rise quickly and can catch us unprepared, which can be harmful or even fatal for our animals.

When planning for outside activities that include a pet, it is important for clients to keep an eye on:

  • Daily temperature forecast
  • Heat index
  • Temperature inside buildings for those pets kept indoors
  • Temperature outside home for pets that live outdoors
  • Temperature risks inside vehicles.

Different pets have different needs when it comes to warmer temperatures.
Tips to know about your pets:

  • Darker coated animals absorb more heat than those with lighter colored coats
  • Animals with double coats have a natural layer of insulation to help protect against hot weather
    • Those with matted double coats have a harder time staying cool
      • If at all possible, comb out the mats instead of cutting them away or shaving the coat of an animal as this reduces insulation ability
  • Animals with single coats do not have the same type of natural temperature insulation
    • Single coated animals can be shaved in order to be more comfortable in the summertime
  • Overweight, elderly or animals with heart or lung disease run a greater risk of dehydration
  • Brachycephalic breeds are far more vulnerable to heat-related problems
    • Pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, bulldogs, Persian cats.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe in Hot Weather

Other tips to protect a pet from hot weather:

  • Provide cool, fresh and clean water to drink at all times
  • Keep pet inside if possible
  • Use artificial methods to cool pet when they have to be in the warmer temperatures, such as:
    • Cooling mats
    • Fans
    • Misters
    • Air-conditioning equipment
    • Freeze water in water bottles, wrap in a towel and put in pet’s bed
    • Cooling collars
    • Cooling vests
    • Wet towels for animals to lie on
  • Provide a filled kiddie pool set in the shade
  • Brushing a pet often to remove loose or dead fur will help to prevent overheating.

What to Know about Hot-weather Exercising

For those who exercise with their pet on a daily basis, it is important to know that on exceptionally warm days it isn’t necessary to forgo the daily routine if you make some adjustments to allow for outside play and exercise time. For instance:

  • Exercise in the early morning or later evening when the temperatures are more comfortable
  • Never walk a pet on asphalt, concrete or sand that is hot to the touch
  • Put doggie boots on pet to protect their pads from heat rising from the ground
  • Ensure that the path you walk on has enough shade available for a resting time
  • Shorten the length of the walk or run when the temperatures are high
  • Instead of walking, try taking pet for a swim.

Those who exercise with their pets should watch for symptoms of dehydration and overheating. If they occur, connect us for help. The symptoms include:

  • Signs of dehydration:
    • Sunken eyes
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of appetite
    • Dry mouth
    • Elevated heart rate
    • Decreased skin elasticity
    • Panting
  • Signs of overheating:
    • Panting
    • Disorientation
    • Fast or noisy breathing
    • Collapsing or convulsing
    • Bright red or blue gums
    • Vomiting
    • Drooling
    • Diarrhea