When the summer heat and humidity start to rise, it’s important to understand how pets are affected. Here are some simple tips for keeping your pets cool, comfortable and safe.
H2O is a pet’s best friend
Unlike humans, dogs and cats don’t cool off by sweating. Instead, they lose heat and moisture from their tongues by panting. This water loss needs to be replaced, so it’s important to keep fresh drinking water available at all times, especially when you take your pets out for long summer walks or car rides.
Don’t park your pet
Never leave your pet alone in a parked car—not even for a few minutes, not even with the windows cracked open. The air in a parked car doesn’t circulate and, even in the shade, the temperature in a vehicle will start to rise and become life-threatening in a matter of minutes.
Rules for pools
Having fun in the pool is a great summertime tradition. But be cautious when your pets are in or around the water, especially if they’re older and can’t get in or out as easily as they used to. Install ramps to allow pets of all ages an easy escape from an accidental fall in the pool.
Block that sun
It may be surprising to learn that pets with light-colored skin and hair can get sunburned. In fact, extensive time in the sun can even result in skin cancer. If your pet will be spending a long time outside on a hot, sunny day, talk to your veterinarian about using specially developed pet sunblock on unprotected areas like the nose and ears.
High noon is no time for exercising
If you’re used to taking your dog for a walk mid-day, it’s a good idea to change your summer walking schedule to early morning or late afternoon, with fresh water always at hand. Hot pavement can burn a dog’s paw pads, and walking outdoors during the hottest time of day can lead to heat stress. After the summer is over, feel free to return to your usual schedule.
Warm weather, longer days and summer fun keep us and our pets outdoors more often, increasing the chances of getting bitten by fleas and mosquitoes. These bugs can transmit a number of diseases including tapeworm, heartworm and even West Nile virus. During the summer months, be sure your dog or cat is tested for heartworm and that you’re using veterinarian-recommended flea and heartworm preventive products.