Summertime is a favourite season for adults and children alike because of the great weather and fun outdoor activities. Many outside activities are pet friendly, but it is important to realize that hot weather and summer events can be dangerous for pets. However, with the proper precautions, your furry friends will be just as safe as you are, while still enjoying fun in the sun.
Beat the Heat
Heat is by far the most common danger in the summer for both people and their pets, but with a few precautions, the danger is minimal. Here are a few tips to remember when you are outside with your pet:
- Hydration – We have built-in sweat system to keep cool, and it works much like the radiator on a car or truck. However, this system needs plenty of water in order to function properly. This means that it is important to keep yourself and your pet fully hydrated, and since your pet is smaller, they will need more frequent water breaks.
- Shade – Humans can bring a little of their own shade with them, via hat or umbrella, but pets do not have this same option. When resting outdoors, make sure to do so in a shaded area.
- Avoid hot cars – All responsible pet owners should be aware that leaving a pet in a parked car is life-threatening, but many people may not realize a hot car is dangerous even when the owner is inside. If you vehicle does not have adequate air conditioning or ventilation, it can be just as hazardous to your pet as is a parked car.
- Be prepared for emergencies – It is always a good idea to be prepared in the event of an emergency, but during the summer, your preparedness plan should also include a way to shelter your pet in case there is a power outage. Have a plan in place to keep your pet cool if you power is unexpectedly unavailable.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke can happen even on days that you may not think are all that warm, so it is a good idea to be familiar with the signs and symptoms. Look out for:
- Heavy breathing and panting
- Bright red gums that eventually turn white or blue
- Inability to maintain balance
- Unwillingness to move even when offered a favourite toy or treat
- Uncontrollable bowel movements or urination
It is important to note that pets, dogs in particular, do not cool off quite the same way humans do. This means that to counteract heatstroke, it’s not enough to stick the pet in front of a fan or in a cool room. Since dogs sweat primarily through their feet, try dunking the feet in water or even in rubbing alcohol for a faster evaporation and cooling effect. Place ice packs on the neck or in the groin area, or hose down the animal as soon as possible. If left untreated, heatstroke can cause seizures and even lead to death.
General Summer Pet Care Safety
The sun is not the only potentially dangerous influence to a pet’s well being. Swimming, hunting, chemical fertilizers on lawns, and insects can create serious health issues as well. With the right precautions and attitude, your pet will love all summertime events as much as you do. No matter what activity you plan on enjoying with your pet this summer, make sure they have the protection needed to be safe.
Keep your animal’s vaccinations current, inspect it for harmful parasites after spending time in foliage, and try to be aware of your pet’s mood to determine if an activity is appropriate. Make sure to bring plenty of water, some snacks, and your pet first aid kit, and you will be prepared for most emergencies. If your pet has special needs, medications, or limitations, take these into consideration before embarking on a strenuous summer activity. Have a great time with your furry companion this summer, and stay safe!