We all like to stay cool during the summertime heat but for your pets, it is a necessity. The sometimes unbearable summer heat can be deadly for pets. With temperatures rising into the 100 degree range some days, it is crucial to know how to keep your pets safe from heat stroke. Luckily for you, FoMA has some suggestions and useful tools to keep your furry friends safe and cool.
To Keep Your Pets Safe From the Summertime Heat:
- Be Aware of the Signs of Overheating: The biggest dangers for your pets during the summertime are overheating and heat stroke. Also called hyperthermia, a heat stroke happens when a dog can no longer regulate its body temperature through panting or through its paws. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are at a higher risk of heat stroke because they can’t cool down as effectively by panting. Older and overweight pets are also at a higher risk and these pets should be kept in cool areas as much as possible. If your pet is panting excessively, having trouble breathing, drooling, is listless or has collapsed, these may be signs of overheating. Other serious symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
- Treating Overheating: If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to immediately move your pet to a cooler area and begin cooling them down with cool water-not cold water though, as rapid cooling can also be dangerous. Position your pet in front of a fan to cool off, check their temperature every few minutes, and give your fur baby some water. If you have access to a pool of water, soak your dog’s feet in it as they have sweat glands in their paws which allow them to cool down. Even after your pet has cooled down it is still important to get to a vet as soon as possible and have them checked to make sure there was no internal damage.
- Watch Your Pets for Dehydration: Your furry friends can quickly become dehydrated and dehydration can be even more harmful in the summertime. You can tell if your dog is dehydrated by doing the skin test. Simply lift the skin between the shoulder blades to form a tent, and then drop it. If your dog is dehydrated, it will take longer for the skin to return to normal position. You can also check your dog or cat’s nose and gums. If their nose is dry, and their gums are dry and sticky, they are likely dehydrated. Make sure that you have clean, fresh water accessible at all times for your pets and keep them inside on especially warm days. Even when you are outdoors in the evening, it is important to remember that your pets still need to be hydrated so it’s a good idea to keep a fresh bowl of water outside for them at all times.
- Be Strategic in the Timing of Your Walks and Outdoor Exercise: In the heat of summertime, asphalt temperatures can soar above 143 degrees on an 87 degree day. This temperature can be damaging for your pets’ paws. As a rule of thumb, if it is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pets. Try to walk your pets in the morning and late afternoon or in the evening, when the temperatures are slightly cooler. If you have an at-risk pet and must exercise or go on a long walk during the day, think about putting a cooling jacket on your furry friend. Chewy has a nice cooling vest that could be worth the investment, and if you use our referral link you will receive $20 off your first order and Chewy will donate to our cause! Let’s work together to keep your pets cool and safe this summer!
- DO NOT Shave Your Pets: Although shaving your pets might seem like the obvious move to keep them cool in the summertime, it can actually end up hurting them more than helping them. Your pup has a layered coat that provides protection from overheating and sunburn. Go ahead and trim longer hair, but do not shave it off completely. For your cats, brushing them frequently can prevent problems caused by excessive heat, but they also need their fur for protection from the elements.
- NEVER Leave Your Pets in a Hot Car: Because cars magnify heat, on a 90 degree day, the inside of a car can soar to a roasting 130 degrees very quickly. Your pets will try to cool themselves down by panting, but their anxiety levels will rise making the situation even more dangerous. Even running into the grocery store for a few minutes is enough time for heat stroke to set in. Cracking a window does next to nothing for the temperature in the car, not to mention the fact that leaving your pets unattended in a car is illegal in a number of states! Next time you have to run errands, leave your pets at home. They will thank you and you’ll be keeping them safe!
- Be Responsible: Above all else, this tip remains the most important one. Be responsible. It is our job as pet owners to ensure the safety and comfort of our fur family, and staying informed on how to keep our pets safe in any scenario should be a number one priority. If you can’t commit to keeping your pets safe, you should think twice about taking on the responsibility of bringing a pet into your home. We want all pets to find their forever homes, but a safe and loving home with responsible pet owners is just as important. Help us ensure the wellbeing of animals in not just Miami-Dade, but all over.