Here comes summer!… or at least we hope so. After such a long, cold winter and a slow spring, all of us surely are looking forward to the lazy hazy days of summer, even our pets.
It’s wonderful to spend time outside with our pets in the summer, but it is important to be aware of the health risks that the heat can pose. Pets can be very prone to overheating and heat stroke, especially during activities.
The signs to watch for that indicates heat stroke include excessive panting, lethargy, stumbling and collapse. In severe cases, overheating can also cause organ damage, bleeding disorders and eventually death.
Always ensure your pets have access to fresh water and somewhere they can go to cool down as needed. Try to prevent them from over exerting themselves with activity, which especially important with some dogs that will do anything to chase a ball. Try to coordinate activities with your pet at the cooler morning and evening times, not during the heat of the day
NEVER leave your pet in a car, even with the windows open. Temperatures can rise very quickly to life threatening levels. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can climb 50 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes! See what it feels like for your pet to be in a car with the windows cracked in this YouTube video.[ytdi url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOcCQ-y3OY” width=”560″ height=”315″ autoplay=”0″ rel=”0″ info=”0″ theme=”light”]
Pets with heart or lung conditions, senior pets, and pets with more restricted airways (brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, shih tzus, bulldogs and Himalayan cats), should always be kept in cooler temperatures during the summer months.
It is important to keep longhaired dogs and cats free of mats as their coat acts as an insulated barrier to the heat if properly maintained. Some owners chose to shave down their pets for the summer months, but beware that pets can also get sun burnt like ourselves, so prevent spending time in the sun if they have skin exposure.
If you suspect your pet has overheated, please contact your veterinarian immediately. For more information, please visit the ASPCA site.
For many of us and our pets, summer didn’t come soon enough. Let’s make it fun, adventurous and above all safe for all.