Keeping your pet cool in the blazing heat of the summer can be a difficult task, if you’re not prepared. Remember that dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do – Sure most people know this, however if you didn’t. Now you do! Dogs and Cats pant to regulate their body temperature, which for them is between 100-102.5 degrees.
Here are some tips to keep your pets cool this summer.
Don’t Leave your pet in the car!
Even if you’re going to take a quick trip into the store, don’t leave your pet in the car. Cars heat up very quickly (into the 100’s) and will become a deathtrap to animals, even if you leave the windows cracked. Animals can’t withstand the heat higher then their own body temperature for long as they can’t pant enough to cool themselves down. This can and will have serious implications, such as a stroke.
Don’t leave your pet outside!
Sure, they have more airflow outside! But just think of how miserable you are out in the heat on a very hot day. If its not nice for you, its ten times worse for them. Especially for those breeds with a brachycephalic face (meaning short pushed in face, eg. Pugs, Boston Terriers, etc) who already have a hard time breathing as it is. If your pet is going to be outside for a short while, please make sure there is a shady shelter (not a tree) and plenty of water! Maybe even go so far as to purchase a kiddy pool for them to jump in and cool off. Also, make sure the kiddy pool is in a well shaded area to keep the water cool throughout the day.
If you decide to use a pool, please be advised to make sure that your pet knows how to use the pool properly – believe it or not, dogs CAN drown. So with a kiddie pool, use caution with very small dogs, cats or puppies. If you have a regular pool, its never advisable to leave your pet unattended – and if you think that they will get in the pool without you there, install a pair of scamper ramps or something similar to make sure they or any other animal can get out easily.
Or you could just hose them down! After they learn how fun it is, you never know what games you could play with them, and keep them cool at the same time!
Drinking Water! And lots of it.
As mentioned above – if you absolutely have to leave your pet outside. Make sure there is plenty of cool clean water. And not just a small bowl – lots of dogs like…no LOVE to stick their paws in it to cool down (in fact this is a good way for you to cool them down on walks, keep their paws wet) and may knock it over. Where will they be then? Make sure to leave out a LARGE source of drinking water for your friend, they’ll thank you later.
Ice cubes are another good source as most dogs love to chew on them. However if you have a small toy breed, please be mindful of feeding them too many ice cubes as their body temperature drops more dramatically and quickly then larger breeds.
Watch for signs of…
Heatstroke: Rapid panting, hot skin, twitching muscles and a dazed or stoned look. If you see this happening, wrap them in a cool (not cold) water soaked towel. In severe cases use the bathtub – this is a serious issue as it can be fatal, see/call the vet immediately.
Blistering: Paws are sensitive on that hot asphalt! When walking attempt to go into the shady parts of the street, if you have a pet that is small, pick them up to carry them across hot asphalt. Don’t stand too long in sun drenched areas if you can help it, those poor paws will thank you later!
Overheating: Since they can’t tell you when they’re too hot, check for the following signs. Excessive drooling, lethargy, bloodshot eyes, and loss of skin elasticity (you can check this by pulling the skin up on the back of the head, if it sinks back down quickly, its fine, if it stays tented your pet is dehydrated). If you see any of these don’t take any chances! Treat it as if it were a possible heatstroke situation. IF then your pet doesn’t show any improvement, get in touch with your Vet asap.