summer heatThe dog days of summer are upon us, and that means hazy air, hot temperatures, and lots of lemonade on ice. Thanks to our long winters here in the Northeast, many of us spend as much time as possible outdoors, trying to soak up enough sun to last us through the next season of gray skies and brutal snowstorms.

It’s important to keep in mind that pets need extra TLC during these hot and humid months. Heat safety for pets should be a priority for any family that shares a home with an animal. Your team at True Care Veterinary Hospital has the tips to help you take the best possible care of your furry friends.

The Dangers of Heatstroke

Our pets love to play outside, but they don’t always know when to quit. It’s up to us to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t become overheated or develop heatstroke. The symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Loss of coordination, staggering
  • Blue or bright red gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure

If you suspect your pet is developing heatstroke, seek shade or a cool environment immediately. When possible, wrap your pet in towels soaked in cool (never cold) water. Call us right away or take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, even if he or she seems better.

Heat Safety for Pets

You can protect your pets from heat-related dangers by making sure they stay cool and hydrated in the following ways:

  • Keep them outta the car – Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a moment. It only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside a parked car to rise to dangerous levels, even if the car is in the shade with the windows cracked.
  • Provide the basics – Make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water and shade at all times. Keep your pet inside with the A/C on or fan running on the hottest days.
  • Limit exercise – Daily exercise is a cornerstone of good health, but walking or playing outdoors in the heat of the afternoon can be dangerous for pets. Opt for early morning or late evening walks or games of fetch.
  • Watch those surfaces – Pavement, asphalt, sand, and even dirt readily absorb the sun’s rays, making for some scalding surfaces that can burn your pet’s paw pads. Place your palm on the ground to check the temperature; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
  • Play it cool – Be creative when it comes to keeping your pet cool: turn on the sprinklers or fill up the kiddie pool for outdoor playtime, add ice cubes to the water bowl to increase your pet’s interest in drinking, or freeze broth or pet friendly fruits or vegetables in ice cube trays as treats on hot days.

Do you have questions about summer heat pet safety? Don’t hesitate to contact your team at True Care Veterinary Hospital.