Summer months are beautiful and everyone looks forward to with them with the anticipation of having a good time outdoors in parks, beaches and other fun spots. However, the summer heat can be a big issue, especially for your pets. When it’s hot you can change to lighter clothing but they don’t have that luxury. It’s up to you to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible so that they enjoy the summer as much as you do.
While human beings keep our bodies cool through sweating, your pets get rid of body heat by panting or perspiring through their paws. Unfortunately this doesn’t get the job done quite as efficiently. Your pet is more easily susceptible to heat stroke because of this. It is therefore quite important that you shield your pets from the negative effects of the summer heat.
- Keep Your Pets Cool
One of the things you can do is to have your pets clipped or shaved so that heat trapped in the furs will be minimal. You can sometimes provide cold food and water for your pet. This can be in the form of cold vegetables or chilling your pet’s water bowl by adding a few ice cubes to it.
- Have Plenty of Water Handy
Always make sure to keep your dogs well hydrated at all times. Replenish water bowls with cool and fresh water. You can spray your dogs with water or use a cold towel for their underbellies to keep them cool.
- Reduce Time Spent Under the Sun
Even though your pets may love spending a lot of time outdoors, you need to prevent them from doing this. Apart from the possibility of suffering a heat stroke, staying too long under direct sunlight also exposes your pets to the risk of skin cancers.
- Restrict Exercising
Restrict exercise times to mornings and evenings when the weather and ground is cooler. Keep exercises at moderate intensity – no fast running or anything vigorous. If your pets are still struggling, go for a slow or leisurely walk so that your pets do not exert themselves. Better still, take them for a swim to help cool their bodies and also have some fun.
Consider taking your dogs to a local dog park with water available to take a dip in. The water will help cool off dogs on hot days. Both the Clayton Dog Park and Maplewood Dog Park have water available for dogs to play in.
- Condition the Environment
During summer, provide plenty of shade for your dogs so that they are not exposed to too much sun. If you can provide air conditioning, Great! If not, you can provide a fan. The crate or kennel can be relocated to a shady area. You could freeze up large jars of water to keep in their cages at all times. You can also keep your pets cool by pouring a few inches of water in a kid’s paddling pool and placing it in a shaded area. They will enjoy cooling off inside the pool. Spraying the play area several times during a hot day will also help keep the environment cool.
- Watch Out For Signs of Discomfort
Ensure that you pay very close attention to changes in your pets’ behavior so that any hot spell or health issue can be detected and addressed early. Signs of heat – related discomfort in dogs include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, difficulty in breathing or heavy panting. Get the attention of your vet if you notice anything amiss.
- Protect from Hot Floor surfaces
Concrete, asphalt or sand can get your dogs’ pads burnt. So you have to protect them from the effects of walking on such surfaces if you cannot prevent it. You can also make use of doggie boots to help protect their paws.
- When Going Out
Don’t leave pets inside parked cars, even when the windows are down, because the temperature inside rises quickly and could lead to heat stroke. It may be better to leave your pets at home if you are going to places where pets are not allowed. Also ensure you carry enough water with you on outings. You can also consult your vet on the use of sunscreens for your pet.
OTHER SUMMER CARE TIPS FOR PET OWNERS
Different breeds of dogs have varying levels of tolerance to heat.
- Pugs, Pekingese, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and other short-nosed breeds can’t pant efficiently and are less tolerant.
- Elderly or sick animals also have low tolerance for heat.
- Overweight dogs trap more heat in their extra layers of fat and find it more difficult to breathe. They are therefore less heat tolerant.
- Short-haired dogs and lighter coated dogs and cats (with pink skin and white hair) are more susceptible to sunburn.