Tips to Keep a Pet Cool All Summer Long

We begin each summer poised to have fun and maybe even get away for a bit. What’s not to love? However, sky-high temperatures, extreme humidity, and diminishing breezes can drain all of our collective can-do spirits. And we’re not alone. Our pets are right alongside us, enduring the ups and downs of the season. Luckily, there are many ways to keep a pet cool.

Avoid Heat Stroke

Dogs and cats pant and sweat through their paw pads in an attempt to regulate internal body temperature. While helpful, these methods aren’t entirely effective, and body temperature can quickly climb to dangerous degrees. Heatstroke is characterized by a temperature of 104 degrees or higher. With these ideas to keep a pet cool, you can protect against devastating consequences:

  • Provide ample shade.
  • Always have a fresh supply of cool, clean water inside and outside the home. Also be sure to bring water and a collapsible bowl along when out for a walk.
  • Reduce exposure to the heat by enforcing dawn and dusk exercise times.
  • Make ice packs that your pet can lick or lay down on.
  • Encourage your pet to walk on the grass instead of hot asphalt or concrete.
  • Install a shallow wading pool or sprinkler for your pet to test out throughout the day.
  • Airflow is just as important as shade. If your pet prefers an enclosure or pet house, be sure that air can flow over him or her. Likewise, setting up fans on the porch and throughout the house will help.

A Word on Fur

Perhaps counterintuitively, your pet’s fur actually helps protect him or her from the sun’s harsh rays. However, you should definitely keep a pet cool by grooming regularly. This will reduce the buildup of loose fur without exposing the skin to dangerous UV rays.

We are always here to offer your pet a refreshingly light summer trim. Pet grooming is just one of our specialties, and we’re happy to help.

Keep a Pet Cool

A critical component of summer pet safety is knowing that pets should never be left in a parked vehicle. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, temperatures inside the car can rise to lethal temps. Keep a pet cool by leaving him or her at home while you run your errands.

Know the Signs

Another way to keep your pet cool and safe this summer is to simply recognize the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Be on the outlook for dark red or dry gums, lethargy, depression, and odd behaviors.

Please give us a call if you suspect your pet needs immediate care or if you have additional questions about ways to keep a pet cool.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Safety Tips for Pet Parents

 

Wow! It’s getting hot out there! Temperatures are already hitting the 80’s on some days and the humidity has increased as well. At our house, we cope by switching to shorts and light t-shirts, drinking lots of water and taking breaks indoors or in the shade. We produce quite a bit of sweat and take extra showers. That works for us but what about our pets?  Read our summer safety tips to help keep your best friend healthy.

What can you do to make summer more comfortable and safer for your pet?

  • Provide lots of fresh water. Make sure it is in a container that can’t be overturned by mistake and that there is enough to last all day. In addition, if you use a zip line or some other type of tether you need to make double sure your pet can’t become entangled and unable to reach either shade or his or her water source.
  • Indoors or out. Is there a place where your pet can stay cool and out of the sun? That may mean keeping your pet indoors in the air conditioning in the summer. However, there is nothing wrong with a dog run or backyard shelter providing there is access to shade, water and hopefully a cooling breeze.
  • Jogging – maybe not. I know that your dog is in good shape. He jogs with you all winter long. However, that doesn’t mean that it is safe to continue jogging with Rover in the summer heat. Remember, dogs can’t cool themselves like we do. Add that to the fact that your loyal companion will keep going no matter how hot he/she gets and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless you run early in the day, long, before the heat sets in, please leave your dog at home.
  • Never leave your pet in the car! Want to know why? Check out this data compiled by the Animal Protection Institute. If your car is closed with no open windows and it is 82 degrees outdoors, in no time at all, the temperature in your car is 109.   At 91 degrees, it’s 115 in the car.   Think cracking the windows help? If it is 84 degrees outside the temperature in the car is still 98 degrees.   At 90 degrees, it is 108 in the car. Got the picture? Even leaving your pet in the car while you run in for a short errand can be deadly.
  • What are the signs of heat stroke? You may see excessive panting, stumbling, weakness, stupor and bright red gums. Body temperatures of 104 degrees or more can occur. As heat stroke progresses, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma and death may follow. “Parked car” or brachycephalic breeds such as Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boxers and others are much more susceptible to heat related problems. Even your bunny, chinchilla or reptiles can suffer from heat related problems. If the weather is warm, think shade and water.
  • If you suspect heat stroke – it’s an emergency! Hose your pet down and bring him/her to the clinic immediately! Don’t try to treat heatstroke on your own. Heatstroke can literally cook internal organs. Pets who have suffered heat stoke may also experience swelling and edema of the trachea making it difficult for them to breathe. Too much cooling can make your pet even sicker. It’s a balance of IV fluids, supportive care and monitoring. Leave it to the professionals.
  • Pet pools – are great for helping your buddy cool down in the summer heat but remember to change the water frequently. If you are lucky enough to have a people sized pool, treat your pets just like your children. Protect them from accidental drowning by never leaving them in the pool area unsupervised.
  • Cool Ideas – Think about getting a pet fountain that provides a continuous stream of fresh, cool water to drink. Fans can help where air conditioning isn’t available. Recently, bandanas and body wraps made specifically for cooling have been developed. After soaking in cool water, these products can provide relief for a limited time. Frozen pop bottles are fun for pets to play with in the pool or on the ground. Even bunnies can benefit from a frozen pop bottle in their cage. Just make sure to wrap it in a cloth before placing it in with your rabbit but don’t let bunny start chewing on the cloth or bottle.
  • Shaving?? – That’s up for debate but if you do, remember your pet will be much more likely to sunburn in the summer sun. Double coated breeds do best when their undercoat is brushed out leaving their guard hair. This allows trapped air to cool your pet.
  • Exotic tips – Cold blooded pets need warm weather care too. Air conditioning can be TOO COLD for many exotics BUT a terrarium placed up against a hot window may become an oven. This applies to birds as well. Too much draft and cold will result in upper respiratory problems. Too much heat can cause heat stroke and death.

Hot Weather Care Tips for Your Pet

 

We have started to get some hot weather.  Temperatures have already reached the 90s on some days and with our recent rains, the humidity has been up as well. At our house, we cope by switching to shorts and light t-shirts, drinking lots of water and taking breaks indoors or in the shade.  We also produce quite a bit of sweat and may take an extra shower.  That works for us but what about our pets?

Dogs and cats don’t have the same options.  They may shed out some coat but still have to cope with a body covered in fur.  They sweat through their paw pads but primarily dissipate body heat by panting. In warm, humid weather, that may not be enough.

So what can you do to make summer more comfortable and safer for your pet?

  • Provide lots of fresh water.  Make sure it is in a container that can’t be overturned by mistake and that there is enough to last all day.  In addition, if you use a zip line or some other type of tether you need to make double sure your pet can’t become entangled and unable to reach either shade or a source of water.
  • Indoors or out.  Is there a place where your pet can stay cool and out of the sun?  That may mean keeping your pet indoors in the air conditioning.  However, there is nothing wrong with a dog run or backyard shelter as long as there is access to shade, water and hopefully a cooling breeze.
  • Jogging – maybe not.   Your dog is in good shape.  He jogs with you all winter long.  However, that doesn’t mean that it is safe to continue the same routine in the summer heat.  Remember, dogs can’t cool themselves like we do.  Add that to the fact that your loyal companion will keep going no matter how hot he/she gets and you have a recipe for disaster.  Unless you run early in the day, long, before the heat sets in, leave the dog home.
  • Never leave your pet in the car!  Want to know why?  Check out this data compiled by the Animal Protection Institute.  If your car is closed with no open windows and it is 82 degrees outdoors, the temperature in your car is 109.   At 91 degrees, it is 115 in the car.   Think cracking the windows help?  If it is 84 degrees outside the temperature in the car is still 98 degrees.    At 90 degrees, it is 108 in the car.  Got the picture?  Even leaving your pet in the car while you run in for a short errand can be deadly.
  • What are the signs of heat stroke?  You may see excessive panting, stumbling, weakness, stupor and bright red gums.  Body temperatures of 104 degrees or more is possible As heat stroke progresses, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma and death may occur.  “Parked car” or brachycephalic breeds such as Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boxers, etc… are more susceptible to heat related problems. Heat stroke isn’t limited to dogs and cats.  Your bunny, chinchilla and even reptiles can suffer heat related problems as well.    Make sure they have shade and plenty of water.
  • If you suspect heat stroke it’s an emergency!  Hose your pet down and bring him/her to the clinic immediately!  Don’t try to treat on your own.  Too much cooling and your pet will actually become too cold.  In addition, heat stroke can literally cook internal organs. Pets who have suffered heat stoke may develop swelling and edema of the trachea making it difficult for them to breathe.  IV fluids, supportive care and monitoring are a must. 
  • Other suggestions for a safer summer.  Pet pools are great for helping your buddy cool down but remember to change the water frequently. Think about getting a pet fountain that provides a continuous stream of fresh, cool water to drink.  Fans can help where air conditioning isn’t available.  Bandanas and body wraps made specifically for cooling can help.  After soaking in cool water, these products can provide relief for a limited time.  Shaving??  That’s up for debate but if you do, remember your pet will be much more likely to sunburn.  Bunnies can benefit from a frozen pop bottle in their cage.  Just make sure to wrap them in a cloth before placing them in with the bunny and watch for chewing on the cloth or bottle.  Cold blooded pets require care on two accounts.  Air conditioning can be TOO COLD and a terrarium that is up against a hot window can easily become an oven.  This applies to birds as well.  Too much draft and cold will result in upper respiratory problems.  Too much heat can cause heat stroke and death.

 

So, enjoy yourself this summer, but, please remember to keep your pet’s well being in mind too. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 563-391-9522.