If you have pets, pay attention. In the Northern Hemisphere, right now it’s summertime. It gets hot. North of 80° F (almost 27° C). When it gets hotter, we need to focus on our pets that spend significant time outdoors! My dog Sparky likes his outdoor time. But in times of heat, be moderate!
My dog, Sparky, loves to be where the critters are. I need to watch him because he will get hot while he is looking for vermin (squirrels, chipmunks, & rabbits to name a few)!
Keep them in the shade if they’re outside. Make sure they can be mobile and move with the shade when they are outside.
Let them have plenty of water…preferably a fresh, deep, cool bowl of H₂O. These deep bowls of cool water will stay color longer than shallow bowls. Plus, if you put ice cubes in the water bowl, it will stay cooler longer! An extra reward for your pet (especially dogs), make a “pet-sicle”. It will help keep your pet cool and sometimes for hours.
Our pets lose water quicker than we do. Cats & dogs do not have sweat glands. They lower their body temperature by panting.
The hotter they are, the heavier they pant. Heavier panting leads to more water loss. If it cannot lower their body’s temperature, it can lead to dehydration and heat stroke.
Pets panting replaces their warm body temperature for the cooler air outside their body. If the air they breathe isn’t substantially cooler than inside of them, their panting system does not work.
A brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed may have a harder time cooling themselves in hot weather. Owners of flat-faced breeds like Himalayan and Persian cats, Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Pekingese, and other flat-faced dogs should exercise outside to a minimum and take extra steps to keep their pets cool.
Whenever possible, leave your pets at home if it is ventilated or temperature controlled. Most of the time, it means air-conditioned!
Various research has shown that when daytime temperature reaches 75° F (almost 24° C), the temperatures inside a vehicle with windows down about 1-2 inches can reach 100° F (almost 38° C) in 10 minutes. The inside temperature in dark-colored interiors of vehicles (the majority these days) can rise even more. These vehicles can land at temperatures of 200+°F (almost 93+° C)! Remember, it is NOT worth it to take your pet on errands. You can risk her or his life!
If you feel you need to take your pet exercising, do it in the morning or late at night. You want to watch for signs of heat stress or stroke. The sign are excessive panting, increased salivation, glassy eyes, and pale gums.
If they have long hair fur, keep them brushed. That way their undercoat is kept light and their outer coat is left to insulate and keep the sun from burning their skin.
If you suspect heatstroke, take heed! You can place cool, wet washcloths on her or his extremities, neck, and head. Also, you place cool compresses on his or her belly. Do not use ice-cold or ice for cooling them. This does more harm!
Call your veterinarian’s office or a veterinary emergency hospital immediately. Seek veterinary advice about what next steps you can do. The high body temperature, along with dehydration, can cause severe organ damage and even death. Heatstroke can be lethal if not addressed properly.
The warmer weather is sought by so many of us. Just be cautious with your pet (or pets)!