Summer is a wonderful time to bask in the sunshine and invite family and friends for barbeques and pool parties. Unfortunately, it can also be a terrible time for pets, with a higher risk of burns and heat-related injuries. Below is a brief guide to keeping your pets cool, comfortable, and safe this summer.
1. Provide plenty of cool drinking water
Water accounts for 60% of an adult animal’s body mass. Unfortunately, pets lose a lot of water on a hot day. For instance, dogs can lose several liters of water daily just through panting and breathing. This can easily cause dehydration. Make sure you provide plenty of cool, fresh drinking water to replenish what’s lost. Consider half-filling a dog bowl, then freezing it and topping it with fresh water. Also, remember to carry water whenever you’re traveling with your pets.
2. Go swimming with your pets or provide water to play in
Drinking plenty of cool water lowers body temperatures. But that is likely not enough on a blistering hot day, so you must find additional ways for your pet to cool off. One of the best ways is to take them swimming or provide water to play in. A hard paddling pool for children works perfectly. However, feel free to bring your pet along to the lake or river, provided you take extra precautions to prevent drowning.
3. Provide shade and cool relaxation spots
Dogs, cats, and other pets will instinctively look for cool spots to lie and relax during the hot summer. Make their work easier by providing portable sunshades, pop-up canopies, and patio umbrellas in their favorite spots. Consider stringing up a tarp or cloth as well. Alternatively, consider a shaded pet bed that is elevated off the ground for maximum air circulation, promoting faster cooling.
4. Use a cooling mat or wet towel
On hot days consider making a cooling mat, wet towel, or ice pack rolled in a blanket available for your pet. Spread the mat, towel, or blanket on the ground for the pet to lie on. Alternatively, drape it over them. Simply drench the wet towel in cool water and gently cover the back of the pet. This helps to lower body temperatures and keep them comfortable.
5. Don’t exercise at midday or on hot days
Regular exercise is invaluable, but running and playing at midday or on particularly hot days can be dangerous. Instead, exercise and play in the early morning and late afternoon and stay indoors around midday. Similarly, avoid the outdoors when daily temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher. You can also check pavement temperatures with the back of your hand – if it feels hot, it may burn your pet’s paws. Remember to regularly check your pet’s temperature, and go inside if their body feels too hot.
6. Don’t leave pets in a parked car
Cars are roughly 75% metal, with some comprising 80%+ metal. Therefore, they get very hot on sunny days. In fact, studies show it’s 43 degrees hotter inside a car than outdoors, rising to 48 degrees hotter in the summer. Thus, the average car is 138 degrees when it’s 90 degrees outside. Leaving your pets in such an environment is extremely risky and should always be avoided. Instead of risking it, leave your pets at home.
7. Be prepared for health emergencies
Accidents can happen, no matter how careful you are. For instance, heat stroke is common in dogs in the summer. There is also the possibility of heat exhaustion, cramps, and sunburn. You must be prepared to administer first aid if your pet is affected. Make sure to familiarize yourself with common hot weather health issues, learn the symptoms, and learn how to prevent them.
Though a great time to enjoy the outdoors, summer can be brutally hot for pets. Excessive heat causes great discomfort and may lead to heat exhaustion, cramps, a rash, or stroke. Sunburns are also common. Thankfully, you now know how to keep your pets cool, comfortable, and healthy when the sunny weather comes around. Use these tips to keep your pets cool this summer.
If you have any questions or are concerned about your pets this summer, call the professionals at Naples Coastal Animal Hospital today.