Summer is in full swing and these hot, often humid days can be tough on humans and animals. At DogServices, the comfort and well-being of animals in our care is a priority. We provide drinking water inside and outside, have kiddie pools for dogs to splash around and cool off in, keep a close eye on our guests (especially those with short muzzles who cannot pant as well), offer shade in the outdoor lots, and limit time outside on especially hot days – using our indoor play areas instead. The tips below from the ASPCA explain how you can help your dog – or cat – beat the heat and stay safe.
Visit the Vet – Take your pet in for a summer check-up if they have not been to the vet recently. Make sure they get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program if needed.
Made in the Shade – Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Know the Warning Signs – Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
No Parking! Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital.
Make a Safe Splash – Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
Screen Test – During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured. Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
Summer Style – Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
Street Smarts – When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Avoid Chemicals – Commonly used flea and tick products, mouse and rat baits, and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.