Summer temperatures have become more extreme across the country with little relief in sight, and people aren’t the only ones suffering from these hotter temps. Our pets are too. Animal emergency clinics treat pets suffering from pavement burns and heatstroke daily.
Being a responsible pet parent means taking extra precautions to protect our animal companions from the dangers of excessive heat. Dogs, cats, and other animals are just as vulnerable to heat-related illnesses as humans, if not more so. Unlike us, they cannot communicate their discomfort, making it essential for pet owners to be proactive in safeguarding their pets’ well-being. Here are ten tips to keep your pets safe in excessive heat.
Hydration is Key
Just like humans, pets need constant access to cool water to stay hydrated during hot weather. Refill their water bowls regularly and consider placing multiple water stations around the house and yard. If you’re taking your pet for a walk or to the park, carry a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of water to ensure they can drink whenever needed.
Limit Outdoor Activities
Avoid strenuous exercise and outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Pavements and sidewalks can become scorching hot and may burn your pet’s paw pads. Instead, opt for early morning or late evening walks when the temperature is cooler.
Provide Shade and Cool Areas
Ensure your pets have access to shaded areas in your yard. Trees, umbrellas, or shade cloths can create a cooler spot for them to rest during the day. Keeping your pet indoors is the best option. Ensure the house is adequately ventilated and kept at a comfortable temperature, and only let them outside for short periods.
Never Leave Pets in a Hot Car
It cannot be stressed enough: never leave your pet unattended in a parked car, even if you crack the windows open. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise rapidly and become deadly within minutes, even on a mildly warm day. If you must run errands, leave your pet at home, where they will be safe.
Regular grooming is essential during hot weather, as it helps to remove excess fur and prevents matting. However, resist the temptation to shave your pets completely, as their fur protects them from sunburn and regulates body temperature. Instead, opt for a trim to help them stay cool without compromising their natural defenses.
Wet Towels and Cooling Mats
Provide your pets with cooling options, such as wet towels or cooling mats, to lie on. These accessories can help lower their body temperature and provide relief from the heat.
Watch for Signs of Overheating
Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion in pets, which may include heavy panting, lethargy, rapid heartbeat, drooling, vomiting, or stumbling. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately move your pet to a cooler area, offer a small amount of water, place a cool, wet towel on their paws, and seek veterinary attention.
Consider Indoor Exercise
If it’s too hot for outdoor activities, engage your pets with indoor exercises and mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, indoor agility games, or treadmills can help keep them active without exposing them to excessive heat.
Protect Sensitive Paws
Hot pavements, sand, or asphalt can quickly burn your pet’s paws. Before going for a walk, check the ground’s temperature by placing your hand on it. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Consider using booties or pet-safe paw balms to protect their paw pads.
There are various cooling accessories available for pets, such as cooling vests, bandanas, and collars. These products are designed to keep your pets cool during outdoor activities and can be especially helpful for breeds prone to heat sensitivity.
Responsible pet care during excessive heat involves taking proactive measures to ensure your animal friends stay safe and comfortable. Hydration, shade, limited outdoor activities, grooming, and knowing the signs of overheating are all crucial aspects of keeping your pets safe in hot weather. Remember, our pets rely on us to make the right decisions for their well-being, and with a little extra attention and care, we can enjoy a happy and healthy summer with our companions.
Jamie Lee is an Animal-Led Mediation Teacher and Animal Sport Mindset Coach, who helps pet lovers and animal sport teams deepen their relationship, define success, and achieve their true potential. Visit www.animal-bonds.com to learn how Animal-Led Meditation can transform your life.