Taking Special Care of Pets in the Summer
Many of us are probably already aware that our pets don’t always fare well in Charleston’s summer sun. In fact, their vulnerability to heatstroke is linked to an inability to sweat as we do. Though dogs and cats expel heat through panting, sometimes that just isn’t enough. To help your pet stay cool this summer, read the pet heat safety tips provided by our animal hospital!
Pet Heat Safety Tips
- Make your pet’s walks earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest times of day. Avoid very active play during the mid-day hours.
- NEVER leave your pets in the car unattended, even with the windows rolled down. If you need to travel somewhere where your pet cannot accompany you inside, keep them safe by leaving them at home.
- Avoid walking on hot asphalt or concrete. It can burn their paws and the heat radiating off the pavement can significantly raise their body temperature to dangerous levels. A good test is to put the back of your hand on the surface for five seconds. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds without being uncomfortable, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
- Whenever your cat or dog is outside for any length of time, ensure they have fresh, cool drinking water available at all times as well as a shady place to lie down and rest.
- Be aware that pets can get sunburned, too. Dogs and cats with white, short coats are at a greater risk of sunburn. Use pet-safe sunscreen when you and your pets will be outdoors for more than an hour.
- Dogs and cats with shorter snouts have a harder time keeping cool. They are not able to pant as effectively and are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion. Help them stay cool by giving them a little extra attention when outdoors in the heat.
Recognize the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Understanding the signs of heat exhaustion is the first step to getting your pet the care they need. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following conditions, bring them immediately inside to air conditioning, offer them water, and make arrangements to get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. This is a life-threatening emergency situation that requires veterinary care, even if you are able to cool down your pet, as detrimental internal damage can occur for hours and even days after symptoms present!
- Excessive panting
- Stumbling or stupor
- Raised body temperature
- Bright red gums
- Excessive drooling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you’re ever unsure about your pet’s condition, contact us right away. We’ll be happy to offer you advice about whether or not they need immediate care.