How to Keep Your Pets Cool This Summer
While you’re out enjoying the warm weather with your pets, it is important to remember that dogs and cats can get overheated just like their owners. Here are some precautions you can take to keep your pets safe from the dangers that come with warmer weather.
Keep Your Hot Dogs From Overheating This Summer
Exercise Pets During the Cool Hours of the Day
On those hot summer days, your furry friend will be happiest going outside in the early morning or late evening when it’s cooler. On extremely hot days it is best to keep your pup in the shade to avoid dehydration and heatstroke.
The sun beating down on the sidewalk can cause the pavement to be too hot for your pup’s paws. If your dog has a short or light coloured coat they can get a sunburn in the middle of the day just like a human. Make sure you give your pet a run in the grass or in the shade to protect their feet and skin from getting burned.
Some dogs will keep going even if they have had enough! Keep an eye on your pup’s play and make them take a time-out if they are having trouble breathing, or are exhibiting signs of dehydration or heatstroke.
Proper Grooming Is Especially Important in the Summer
If you have a dog with a thick coat, their fur can act as sun and heat protection. If your furry friend is properly groomed, they don’t need to be shaved in the summer months. Your pup’s undercoat can help insulate them from the heat and regulate their temperature. But if it’s not properly maintained it can prevent air flow and cause them to overheat. Frequent brushing helps keep your pet’s coat healthy and comfortable.
Don’t Leave Your Dog In the Hot Car
Even if you are just popping into a store for a few moments, you should never leave your dog in a hot parked car – even with the windows open.
Have a look at this video from the Ontario SPCA about the dangers of leaving your pet in a hot car!
Know the Signs:
Heatstroke in dogs:
- Raised temperature (101.5° is normal)
- Rapid breathing and panting
- Excess salivation and thickened saliva
- Fatigue or depression
- Muscle tremors
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, get them inside and contact your vet.
You can help your dog cool down by wrapping them in a cool towel and putting them near a fan.
Check your dog’s temperature every few minutes and take off any cold towels or fans once their temperature reaches 103°. You want to avoid cooling your pup down too quickly so they don’t go into shock! Give your dog plenty of fluids, keep a close eye on them and take them to the vet if you are not noticing an improvement!
Dehydration in Dogs:
- Sunken eye
- Dry mouth
- Gently pinch a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is their skin slower to snap back?
It is always a good idea to offer your dog cool, clean water to drink. If you have a fussy dog or a dog who needs electrolytes, you can give them water with some broth or a few pieces of kibble. On a hot day, your dog might like some small ice chips in their water dish as well!
Dehydration is not always easy to detect. If you think your dog might have dehydration it is worthwhile asking a vet for their opinion.
How to Keep Your Cats Cool All Summer Long
Give Your Kitty Plenty of Shady Places to Chill
Cats need anywhere from 12-16 hours of sleep a day. Make sure there are some shady patches around your house or yard for your cat to nap without overheating.
Check Under Your Car
Cats often hunt for a secluded spot out of the sun to spend their days. Underneath a parked car can seem like a perfect place for your neighbourhood kitties. Before you head out in your vehicle, take a peek under the car to double check that there are no critters catnapping.
Cats can get a sunburn too!
The skin on your cat’s ears and nose is exposed to the sun, so if your cat loves to lounge in the sun (even on a window ledge indoors) it might be a good idea to invest in some non-toxic sunscreen.
Don’t worry if your cat is panting
Cats regulate their temperature like dogs – they pant to circulate cooler air through their bodies. If you notice that your cat is panting, make sure they have plenty of water and offer them a spot to hang out that away from the heat of the sun.