1. Never Leave Your Pet in a Car
The temperature can rise tremendously within a few minutes. “Comfortably warm” can rise to “dangerously hot” while you browse or wait in line in a store. If you are hungry, consider drive-through or outdoor dining with shade where you can bring your pet. Think pet-friendly shops for your purchases. Or even let your pet have some extra time to relax at home where it’s cool while you run your errands.
2. Always Keep Water Available
Hydration is key when the temperatures rise. Fresh, clean drinking water is a must. Dogs and cats do not sweat all over their bodies as we do. They primarily cool themselves by panting, which is less effective. To cool a pet, you can wet their paws, even the belly using a wet cloth. Do NOT use freezing cold water, as this can cause the blood vessels to constrict, prolonging the heat. For a little extra fun with keeping cool, provide a kiddy pool for your dog to play in!
3. Protect Against Parasites
Heat is not the only summertime threat. The warm weather is ideal for some nasty parasites, such as heartworm-carrying mosquitoes, fleas, ticks of all sorts, and intestinal parasites. All these nasty parasites can harm your pets, and some can even be fatal. Some ticks carry Lyme Disease, and adult heartworms can be lethal. Some intestinal parasites are zoonotic, that is, they can be passed from pets to people. That’s right – your family members might become infected with worms if you do not provide parasite protection for your pet! Fortunately, there are products like Heartgard, Nexgard, Simparica and Advantix that provide protection.
4. Watch Out for Coolant
There aren’t any motor vehicle fluids you particularly want to give your pet, but coolant/antifreeze can be especially dangerous. It does not take much to cause symptoms or even be lethal to dogs and cats. And since it tends to taste sweet, dogs can be drawn to it. You can be a little safer with a more pet-friendly coolant – these use less toxic chemicals and some have added bitter chemicals that make them less appealing to pets.
5. Beware the “Unknown” Lawn or Field
Playing outside in the sunshine is one of the best features of summer. Exercise is essential to the health of your pet, but you will need to be smart about where you take your pet to play. Some grassy areas may be coated in dangerous pesticides or fertilizers that are toxic.
6. Check the Screens
Sometimes you really need to air out the house and get a fresh breeze. When you do, make sure any window screens are securely closed. One exciting moment of a bird or small rodent running by could send an indoor cat on an outdoor adventure they are not prepared for.
7. Bring Them to Winslow Animal Hospital for a Checkup!
Dogs and cats age more quickly than people do. This means their bodies can go through more changes and develop diseases insidiously fast. A healthy adult dog or cat should be seen by a veterinarian for a physical exam about once a year. Senior pets (over the age of 7, on average) or those with health problems may need to be seen more often. Now is a good time to bring your pet to the vet!
8. Know What Heat Stroke Looks Like
Heat isn’t just unpleasant – it can be deadly. Look for signs:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark or bright red tongue & gums
- Sticky or dry tongue & gums
- Excessive panting
- Staggering, stupor, seizures
- body temperatures above 104 Fahrenheit
- Bloody vomit or stool
9. Don’t Use Fireworks Near Pets
Fireworks can be anxiety-inducing for pets. In preparing for the 4th of July, one technique you can use is to systematically desensitize your pet to the sound. Play audio/video of fireworks on your phone or computer at a low volume that is not frightening. Increase the volume only a little at a time and do so during fun time with your pet and provide praise and treats for behaviors you wish to see in your pet. Eventually, if all goes well, your pet will be accustomed.
10. Use Sunscreen
Dogs can get sunburn, too. Breeds without as much protective fur, with very light fur and skin are particularly susceptible. Sun damage can even lead to skin cancers. One way to protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is to use a sunscreen. Ideally, find a sunscreen made especially for dogs. It is important to be careful when selecting a sunscreen, as some may lick at and ingest the sunscreen. Some may contain dangerous chemicals, such as PABA and zinc oxide. Click here to read more from PetMD about dog sunscreen.