Pets are widely regarded as members of the family. We frequently bring them along on our trips and spend as much time as we can with them. As a result, we must also look after the health of our animal companions. As summer approaches, most of us are eager to get outside and enjoy the sun with our families, friends, and, even our pets. But keep in mind that summertime fun comes with the real possibility of heat exhaustion and heat stroke especially among canine and feline companions. Summer pet safety is critical to keep your furry friends safe from the heat and other dangers. Every pet owner is responsible for protecting their animal companions from the hazards of summer whether it is outside of the yard or within our home. Simple precautions and safeguards will help ensure that your pets have a happy, enjoyable, and safe summer.
There are two main causes of overheating in pets: external factors and internal factors.
1. High temperatures, humidity, and a lack of shade or water are examples of external factors.
If you leave your pet outside on a hot day with no access to shade or water, they are more likely to overheat. Similarly, if you take your dog for a walk or a run during the hottest part of the day, he or she is more likely to overheat as a result of the external heat.
2. Age, breed, and health conditions are examples of internal factors.
Older pets, for example, may struggle to regulate their body temperature and are more prone to heatstroke. Overheating is also more common in breeds with thick coats or shortened snouts. Furthermore, pets with medical conditions such as obesity or heart disease may have a more difficult time cooling down and are more prone to overheating.
Cats and dogs, unlike humans, do not have the natural ability to sweat to regulate their body temperature. With only drinking water, panting, and, for some breeds, shedding for relief, our household pets are vulnerable to heatstroke and other summer dangers. We’ll go over how you can keep your pets safe even when the temperatures are at their highest.
Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
Overheating can be fatal to your pet, resulting in heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke. Knowing the warning signs of these conditions, as well as what to do if your pet is in distress, could save your pet’s life.
- Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
- Diarrhea or vomiting that may be bloody
- Increased body temperature
- Increased salivation results in dry gums.
- Excessive or heavy panting
- Breathing difficulties or deep breathing (hyperventilation)
- accelerated heart rate
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms Leading to Heat Stroke
- Breathing that is shallow (leading to very slow shallow breathing)
- Gums that are gray or pale in color
- Diarrhea or vomiting, usually accompanied by blood
If your pet exhibits symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Remove him from the heat and the sun as soon as possible.
- Offer your pet a cool drink, but do not force it to drink.
- Cool your pet down by placing cool wet washcloths or towels on its head and footpads. Never use ice or extremely cold water because they can raise the temperature by constricting the blood vessels.
- Even if the animal appears to be fine, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure that no internal damage has occurred.
Pet-safety tips to follow this summer season
Here are some of the common summer pet safety tips that you can use as a guide;
1. Never leave your pet in a vehicle.
It is not an option to park in the shade and leave the windows open. Even if you are only running a quick errand, your pet’s temperature in a hot car can quickly rise and they can overheat in a very short period of time. It only takes minutes for dangerous levels to rise, resulting in heatstroke and even death.
2. Stay away from hot surfaces.
Another one of our summer pet safety tips is being aware of the temperature outside. One part of your pet you should keep an eye on in the summer, it’s their paws. As the summer season progresses, temperatures can soar, heating up surfaces such as asphalt and metal. When pets walk or linger on these heated surfaces, their bodies heat up quickly and their paw pads may burn. If your pets typically go outside during the hottest times of day, take precautions by gradually changing their walking schedule.
If you can’t avoid it, consider either carrying them until you get past the asphalt or purchasing pet shoes to protect their paw pads from the heat. If you have a pet carrier or a pet stroller, you may want to use those as well.
3. Adjust the temperature of the room.
The outside temperature reflects the temperature inside the home, making it more difficult to keep things cool. If you have pets and plan to leave them at home for the day while you’re away, leave your air conditioner on in a conservative and comfortable setting. It’s also a good idea to close your blinds and curtains to reduce the effects of sunlight coming in through the windows. Make sure your pets have access to a shade that is away from windows.
If you have smaller pets, such as hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs, consider keeping their cages out of direct sunlight and away from places that can get too hot. Because they are smaller animals, they overheat faster than larger pets like dogs and cats, so never leave them outside of their cages or houses. You can also keep a jar of ice or a freezing bottle of water next to their cages to keep them cool – just don’t put it inside their cages or they’ll get too cold.
4. Maintain proper pet grooming
Another one of the summer pet safety tips is maintaining proper grooming. A common question among pet owners is whether or not your pet needs a haircut to match the heat. The answer is dependent on the type of pet you have and the thickness of their coat.
Cats, in general, do a good job of regulating their own body temperature, so shaving their fur won’t help them much. Instead, thoroughly brush through their coat to aid in shedding. While the same logic applies to short-haired dogs with thin fur, those with thicker coats
Grooming is an essential part of pet care that should not be overlooked. Shaving off your furry friends’ fur may result in sunburns, so it’s best to opt for lightweight haircuts instead to avoid overheating and sunburns.
5. Apply sunscreen
While this is most likely your first-time hearing about cats and dogs getting sunburned, it is a very real possibility and included in our summer pet safety. Consult your veterinarian before using sunscreen on your pet, as those with short fine hair and pink skin are more prone to sunburn. It is also beneficial to consult with your veterinarian about the best sunscreens for pets, as there are products designed specifically for animal use.
6. Staying hydrated
It’s summer, and life is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for our four-legged friends. Dogs and cats, like humans, need to stay hydrated, and with the scorching heat, it’s even more important to make sure they’re getting enough to drink. While this may seem obvious, it is critical that pets have access to drinking water throughout the day. Consider bringing an extra bottle of water for them if you’re bringing them out with you. Frozen treats are an excellent way to keep your pets cool internally, and they would enjoy it.
7. Keep an eye out for parasites
Parasites such as fleas and ticks, like the throngs of people who flock to picturesque destinations during the summer, use the season to strike. If your pet cat or dog is not properly cared for, they can easily become targets of these pests. Protect your pet with preventive products such as oral tablets, spot creams, and flea collars. Check your pet’s coat for any lingering fleas and ticks after every trip outside the house.
8. Possibility of Toxic Foods
Summer means more get-togethers with family and friends. While you might enjoy the food at the family barbecue, keep in mind that many foods consumed by humans are toxic to pets. Remember, never give your pet table scraps. It’s tempting to show them how much you care by giving them a treat from the table, but many of the foods we eat can do more harm than good. Instead, give your pet a special treat or chew made just for them. We can help our pets stay happy and healthy all year long if we treat responsibly and keep an eye out for table scraps.
9. Consult with your veterinarian
A regular trip to the veterinarian is a must regardless of the season. Ensure that your pets’ tests are completed and that any medication they require is always available. If you have any concerns or want to learn more about your pets, a visit or consultation with your preferred veterinarian is preferable than using the internet to determine signs and symptoms. Pets with medical issues are also more vulnerable to heat. However, regardless of health, breed, or age, it is always important to keep an eye on your pets. If you have any doubts, don’t be afraid to consult with your veterinarian.
10. Keep them cool
You can assist your pet in cooling off with a doggy pool, sprinkler, or hose, but limit their time outside and keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke, such as panting, drooling, weakness, or collapse. You should also schedule a wellness checkup with your veterinarian at least once a year and follow their recommendations for flea and tick prevention and other health issues.
Keep a close eye on your pet when they’re near or in the water if you’re taking them to the pool or the beach. Consider purchasing flotation devices for them if you plan to take them swimming. It is also critical to keep them away from drinking pool water because swimming pool water contains chemicals that are harmful not only to humans but also to pets. Also, if your pets did swim in the pool, rinse them with clean water to remove the chlorine and salt from their fur.
Summer pet-safety tips for Reptiles, amphibians, and fish
If you take care of exotic pets, it’s crucial to maintain their recommended temperature range. Overheating can be extremely dangerous for many species in hot weather. Here are some of the summer safety tips for exotic pets that can be useful to remember.
- Fish tanks and reptile or amphibian enclosures should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Check the temperature levels inside fish tanks, reptile and amphibian enclosures on a regular basis to ensure they are set to the proper temperature range.
- Changing water – To prevent overheating in fish tanks, you may need to perform water changes. Fill ponds with water and provide pond fish with access to shaded areas created by aquatic plants.
Summer pet-safety tips for Birds
Keep captive birds indoors out of direct sunlight and provide shaded areas for aviary birds. All birds require clean, fresh water for drinking and bathing. Many birds, such as parrots, enjoy being gently misted with cool water to keep them cool and their feathers in good condition. If you take your birds outside for fresh air and sunlight, make sure they are in a secure aviary, cage, or carrier to prevent them from escaping.
- When birds are flying around inside your home, turn off the ceiling fans.
- Check the condition of the window screens. This will keep insects out while keeping your birds in.
- Take your bird safely outside in its carrier or travel cage.
- To avoid overheating, make sure your bird can seek shade inside its cage or carrier while traveling or at home. Never expose an acrylic carrier or cage to direct sunlight.
Understanding about summer safety for animals can mean the difference between a happy summer with your pets and one in which your pets suffer from avoidable seasonal accidents, injuries, or even death.
It is our responsibility as their guardians and caretakers to keep our pets safe. Giving them love and attention for their well-being is what we should do; in return, they give us support and love in our day-to-day lives as part of the family while living in the same home.