We have officially hit the hot summer months and this means we need to be careful with our pets in the heat. It is easier for an animal covered in a fur coat to become extremely hot, very fast, just from a short walk outside. Many pet owners don’t understand that extreme heat can be life threatening. I am amazed by how many dogs I see left in cars at this time of year. A few minutes in a hot car can raise the body temperature of your pet to life threatening levels! Some of the tips I will provide seem like common sense but sadly I see these things happen almost every day.
Keep water on hand when exercising your pet in the heat. Carry a bottle with you or make sure you know where to get some water if you are going to local parks. Keeping a bowl handy (travel collapsible bowls are fantastic) will help facilitate drinking if your pet isn’t very good at drinking from a bottle.
Don’t over exert your pet by running, skating, biking or walking with them during the hottest part of the day (typically 10 am - 4 pm). Try to plan for early or late exercise whenever possible.
Leave your pets at home. Running errands with your pets is entertaining for you and for them, however, your quick 5 minutes into the bank could turn into 20 minutes if you run into the neighbor. Or, you could completely forget your pet is in the car while shopping for that special something you can’t seem to find! It is best to leave them at home in the air conditioning.
Know the signs of Hyperthermia. This condition is an emergency and needs to be treated immediately! If the body temperature exceeds 105-106F it can result in cellular injury, if left untreated it will cause organ failure and death. Some signs are: excessive or heavy panting, excessive drooling, a racing heart rate, dark red gums, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody). Take the pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible!!
Use cooling products to help keep pets cool. Cooling vests or bandanas that you soak in water can help keep them cool on a walk. We carry cooling vests in the store, however, they have been so popular we have had a hard time keeping them in stock. There are also cooling pads you can lay on your floor or out on your lanai.
Know the laws in your area about breaking a window for a pet left in a hot car. We all want to be good samaritans to help a pet in need but knowing the laws can help you decide what steps you can take legally.
I hope this information helps you and your pet to enjoy a safe and happy summer!