What’s more iconic than playing outside with your kids and the family dog in the summer sun? Add a sprinkler and you’ve got yourself a stock photograph!
While you’re enjoying these warmer months though, and your pet’s frolicking in the pool and running around the backyard, just remember that like us humans, pets get dehydrated and overheated too.
If you live in areas where the humidity frizzes your hair and temperatures hit triple digits, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets. With all that fur and no sweat glands, they feel the effects of heat immediately which makes them feel sluggish and ill.
Keep your pets cool and safe this summer by following these helpful tips:
1. Exercise pets during the cool hours of the day.
In the summer, the best times to take your pets outside are in the early morning or late evening, when things are a little cooler out. On those extremely hot days, try keeping pets inside or in the shade, since they’re at greater risk of dehydration or heatstroke.
Hot pavement or asphalt can feel pretty warm on our feet or through our shoes, but they can easily burn pets’ paws. So make sure to keep them on the grass, and always bring water along so they don’t dehydrate.
For pets with short, light-colored, or white coats (and ears), avoid direct sunlight and make sure they don’t get sunburned when playing outside. Breeds with shorter muzzles/noses also tend to have difficulty breathing, so don’t push them too hard during their daily walks.
2. Avoid high humidity levels.
Unlike us humans, animals sweat through their paws and pant through their mouths to cool down. They also don’t have to wear deodorant!
Panting allows them to remove the moisture from their lungs, which cools down their body. However, if humidity levels are too high, animals can’t cool off their body, which can cause health issues.
If you live in areas with a high humidity level during the summer, keep pets hydrated and make sure they drink water throughout the day.
3. Make sure they have plenty of protection and shade from the sun.
If you keep pets outdoors, make sure they have plenty of protection from the heat and sun. Big trees and patios with large awnings provide ample shade for pets. Leave plenty of cold water outside for pets to drink, and drop some ice cubes in their bowls to make their water extra cold.
If you plan to go away for extended periods of time, don’t leave your pets outdoors. Even with shade, pets can become overheated, especially during a heat wave. Bring pets inside where it’s cool and safe for them.
4. Cool off pets in water.
When the temperatures soar, pets love to cool off in refreshing water. Fill up a shallow, plastic kiddie pool with water and let your dog splash around or lie down in the water. It’s adorable to watch, great for your pet, and will probably make a hilarious viral video.
If you have a swimming pool, make sure your dog knows how to swim and can safely exit the pool via the steps. If you take your dog to a lake or ocean, supervise your pets at all times and don’t let them wander off from shore.
5. Look for signs of heatstroke in pets.
The following are typical signs of heatstroke in pets:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive water consumption
If you think your pet is experiencing heatstroke, quickly move him into a cool, air-conditioned place. Apply cold ice packs or towels to his head, neck, and chest or put your pet in the bathtub and gently run cool, not cold, water over his body.
Don’t take any chances with your pets. If your pets show signs of physical distress, particularly if they have seizures or lose consciousness, immediately take them to your vet or local emergency animal clinic.