Summer is arguably the best season of the year, between vacations and a break from school for the kids, plus tons of opportunities to get out and enjoy some fresh air. If our pets could talk, they would probably agree, since they too enjoy getting out when the weather is nice. One thing about summer that isn’t so great, though, is the sticky, humid heat waves that our area is prone to (say hello to triple digits on your weather app). All of a sudden, that itch to get out is dulled into a desire to hide away where there’s A/C and shade.
Some pets might be content to stay inside with you until the heat passes, but others might still want to be outside even though opening the front door feels like opening an oven. It is times like these where, as responsible pet parents, we have to monitor our pets to keep them safe. Heatstroke is a very common condition in dogs and cats that sends too many of our furry friends to the emergency veterinarian every summer. With heatstroke, a dog or cat’s core body temperature is raised to levels that can ultimately put them at risk for organ failure and death. Fortunately, heatstroke is also easily preventable when certain precautions are taken.
- Limit outdoor time. Even if your dog or cat is begging to go outside and roam around the yard, it is important to make sure they do not stay outside for extended periods of time, particularly during midday when the sun is strongest. Supervise all outings and look for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting or lethargy. If you leave your pet unattended at any point, make sure they have access to shady spots away from direct sun and plenty of cool, clean drinking water. Encourage them to go outside in the early morning and late evening when temperatures are more favorable.
- Don’t overdo it with exercise. Your pup might be more than happy to go outside and play fetch with you regardless of temperature, but exertion in the heat puts your pet at greater risk of heatstroke. Once again, early morning and late evening are great opportunities for outdoor fun or walks around the block.
- Water, water, water. All pets should have continuous access to fresh drinking water no matter the season, but this is especially important when temperatures rise. Even when your pet is indoors, keep an eye on their water supply, as they might need to drink more than usual. If their water source is outside, you might need to change out the water frequently to keep it cool – and it is best to avoid placing their drinking water in direct sun.
- Know your pet. Some of our furry friends might have factors that make them more susceptible to heatstroke than other pets, such as medical conditions or extremely thick coats. What works for your neighbor’s pet might not work for your own, so pay attention to your pet’s signals and, if in doubt, check with your vet about what is safe for your little buddy.
Summer days are upon us and we hope this post helps you and your four-legged family members get out, keep cool, and have fun!
The Yappie Cuttery Team