If this summer has been anything like recent summers, we can expect a slew of hot and steamy days ahead of us this July and August. Being prepared for the sweltering weather can make those hot days, if not cooler, at least a lot safer! Here are a few heat hazards to be prepared for as we head into the dog days of summer.
Hot Pavement on Pup’s Paws
Know that feeling of trekking over hot sand or pavement on a warm summer day at the beach? It’s important to remember that is how your pet feels when walking on asphalt and pavement that has been baking in the sunlight. Although you may be thinking about how great a walk is for their health, it’s important to remember how tender their paws are and that they can burned by hot surfaces. A good point to consider is – if you wouldn’t walk on a surface barefoot, don’t let your pet either. Schedule your walks for cooler times in the day on surfaces like grass or in the shade. If you have a dog walker who helps get your pup her daily walk, fill them in on your guidelines for a safe and comfortable walk.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Water. Water is a necessity for your pet every day, not just on hot days as dehydration can kick in on dry days as well. If you’re uncertain if clean water is available where you are going, carry portable water bowls with you, whether for long walks or on vacations. Certain short-nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs, darker-colored pets, pets with thick coats or overweight pets are especially susceptible to the effects of dehydration.
Keep your eyes open for these warning signs of dehydration in your pet:
- Excess lethargy – super tired
- Decreased urination
- Dry gums
- Refusal to eat
- Sunken eyes
- Decreased skin elasticity (Gently pinch your pet’s skin near the shoulder up into the shape of a tent; if the skin is slow to snap back, your pet may be dehydrated.)
No Waiting in the Car
We love giving our pets rides as much as some dogs (and even cats) love it themselves! But if you are considering running errands with your pooch, unless it’s a cool day with a temperature below 65 degrees, it’s best to leave your buddy at home or take them inside on your errand with you. Being locked in a hot car, even with the windows cracked, is a recipe for pain, discomfort and possibly much worse for your pet. So if you’re in doubt, it’s best to take them out… you love their company anyway!
When it comes to keeping your pet cool, it’s simple – think of how you keep yourself cool in the summer and follow the same general guidelines. Use fans, ice packs and cubes, and frozen treats for portable cooling options. And just like you would for a child, let your pets run under the hose or sprinkler in the backyard or even take a dip in the kiddie pool.
We may not be able to stop the heat but if you’re smart about ways to keep cool and situation to avoid, you and your pet will be made in the shade this summer.