Protecting your pets from summer heat is vital to their safety.Summer is in full swing, and you may be enjoying backyard BBQ’s, lounging by the pool, or hitting the trails with your dog. We all love spending these warm, sunny days with our furry friends, and Mobile Vet MD wants to make sure your pet remains safe throughout all the fun. Consider the following tips for summer pet safety:

The Basics

First, a word about pets and hot weather. Just like humans, dogs and cats need protection from the heat. They have a fur coat, and although this does offer some protection, it can also (obviously!) make things warmer for them.

Also, pets don’t sweat like we do, and panting is the main way your dog dissipates heat. However, when temps rise, panting isn’t always enough to keep pets from overheating. That’s why it’s important to prevent them from getting too hot in the first place.

While cats tend to fare a little better than dogs in hot weather, they’re still susceptible to overheating when precautions aren’t taken.

Summer Pet Safety Tips

Never leave a pet in a parked car. We can’t stress this idea enough! Leave your pets at home where they’ll remain safe and cool. Temperatures in a car can reach triple digits within minutes, which puts your pet at risk for heatstroke and death.

Provide plenty of water and shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water at all times. Your pet should also always have access to shade, whether outside with you or while walking. Keep it cool!

Limit exercise. While we’re on the subject, it’s best to restrict exercising to cooler parts of the day. Early morning and evening provide better temps and cooler walking surfaces (protect paws by staying off asphalt and hot concrete). A good rule of thumb: if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.

Knowledge is power. Know the symptoms of overheating in pets. Excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, and weakness are all signs of heatstroke. If you observe any of these symptoms, try cooling your pet with tepid water on their belly and groin; get them to an emergency clinic immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that must be treated quickly for the best outcome.

Watch them closely. Some pets are even more vulnerable to summer heat. Flat-faced dogs (pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc.) have shortened airways that make it harder for them to dissipate heat. Older, sick, or very young pets are also more vulnerable to extreme temperatures. The best place for these pets is inside with air conditioning.

Practice water safety. Not all dogs are good swimmers! Keep your pool fenced, and always supervise your pet near the water. A Coast Guard-approved life vest is necessary when playing near deep water or strong currents.

Screen it! Open and unscreened windows and doors are real hazards for pets, who often fall out. Check to make sure screens are tightly secured, and keep all unscreened doors and windows closed.

Be mindful of food and drink. Remember that human foods, especially those served at BBQ’s, are often toxic to pets. Keep them away from alcohol, chocolate, onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, and bones. Table scraps and garbage also pose problems, such as GI upset or pancreatitis. Keep those trash bins secure!

We hope these tips have given you some food for thought on how to keep your pet safe this summer. If you have any questions or concerns about summer pet safety, please give us a call!