Animal Lovers: Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer
Written by: Allison Swan
Summer can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous time for pets. Keep your furry friends safe and cool all summer long with these important tips from the Humane Society.
Exercise with caution
Limit exercise on hot days to early mornings or evening hours. The asphalt can burn your pet's paws, so walk on the grass if possible and carry water with you to keep your pet from dehydrating.
Never leave your pet in a parked car
On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rapidly rise to dangerous levels, which can lead to irreversible organ damage or even death--don't leave them for even a minute.
Fans won't help
Animals respond differently to the heat than people do. Dogs sweat primarily through their feet, so fans surprisingly won't cool your pet off as effectively as it does for you.
Watch humidity levels outdoors
Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. Watch the humidity levels outdoors because if your animal is unable to cool itself, their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly. Their temperature shouldn't be over 104 degrees.
Provide ample shade
Protect your pet from the sun by providing plenty of shade. Doghouses don't provide relief from the heat--it just makes it much worse. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. Try a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat. The best products are the ones where you soak them in cool water--they'll stay cool (and dry) for up to three days.
Signs of heatstroke
Signs include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. If your pet is suffering from heatstroke, move them to the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and take them directly to a veterinarian.