Keeping your pet cool in the summer
Our four-legged friends can feel the miserable heat of summer just as much as we do, and can be bothered by pests just as much as we are. As domesticated animals, they have no choice but to look to you for relief and care, so it’s always smart to remind yourself about the unique challenges the warm weather brings to our animal companions so that you can keep them as safe and as comfortable as possible.
Review this list before the mercury rises:
- Never leave a pet in a hot car. It only takes a matter of a few minutes for a dog or cat to suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke in a hot car – even with the window cracked and even if you’re parked in the shade.1 There is no circumstance in which it is safe for a pet to be locked in a hot car, so if you absolutely have to take your dog or cat along with you for some reason, always take them out of the car with you when you leave, and make sure to bring a bowl and water with you so your furry friend has access to a refreshing drink.
- Keep your pets cool and hydrated. Dogs and cats sweat through their paws and noses, and cool off by panting. Cats also bathe themselves to stay cool, because as their saliva evaporates, it cools the skin. But these methods are only so effective, so make sure that you have cool, shady places for your pets to be during the hottest parts of the day, and always make sure they have access to cool water. Be especially aware of older and overweight animals, as well as cats and dogs like Persians and Pugs whose shortened, flattened faces don’t allow for effective panting. If it’s so hot that you want to retreat into the air conditioning, make sure to take your pets with you.
- Bug off! Pests like ticks and fleas aren’t just a nuisance – they can be a health hazard for pets because of the parasites and diseases they can carry. Talk to your vet about how to safely protect your pets from summer bugs, and about which products are safe to use for your type and size of dog or cat.
- Keep an eye on swimmers. Your dog may love splashing in the water, but it doesn’t mean they are a good or strong swimmer. Always keep an eye on your pets when they are near or in lakes or pools. If you’re boating, invest in a pet lifejacket just in case your furry friend falls overboard.
- Watch for environmental hazards. Antifreeze can sometimes leak out of cars and puddle on the pavement beneath them, or even spill from an old bottle in your garage. It’s incredibly toxic to pets, but it’s a tempting treat to them – especially on a hot day – so keep an eye on your surroundings when you are out and about with your pet. The same goes for fertilizer and pesticide. Don’t use it on your own lawn, and always heed the warning signs on neighbor’s lawns if they have.
- Keep your pets inside during fireworks. Dogs and cats are often terrified by the sound of fireworks, so make sure to keep your pet safely inside on nights when you know there will be fireworks in your neighborhood – or at that first telltale boom and flash in the sky. Dogs have been known to flee their own yards to find a “safer” place during fireworks displays. For more great tips on how to keep your dog feeling less frightened during fireworks, visit Pet Health Network
Just like it is for us, summertime can be a wonderful time for pets. But as their owners, and best friends, it’s our responsibility to make sure they are always as safe, healthy and happy as possible. They’d do it for us, after all!
For more great tips on how to keep your pet safe during the summer months, visit Prevention.
415240 CAN/US (06/17)