Made in the Shade: A Quick Guide to Summer Pet Safety
Monrovia may fall short on national averages for precipitation, but our “comfort index” is amazingly high. All bragging aside, we really hit the jackpot with our climate, but that doesn’t mean our high and dry temperatures are safe for everyone. Pets are noticeably affected by the scorching sun, but if you play it safe with our summer pet safety tips, you can avoid sizable risks.
I Spy With My Pet-Focused Eye
It’s not uncommon for a dog to play or work to exhaustion. Often, a pet owner may even be surprised their dog is faring so well in the heat and sun – until he or she suddenly isn’t doing well at all.
Heatstroke symptoms can be subtle at first, which is why it’s important to monitor and curb excessive or sustained exertion before it’s too late. Keep a close eye on:
- Excessive panting that cannot be slowed down or controlled
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
- Internal temperature of 104 degrees or higher
- Bloody vomit or diarrhea
The Key to Summer Pet Safety
Dogs do not have sweat glands like we do, so they “sweat” through their paws. If it’s terribly hot, your dog won’t be able to regulate body temperature very well.
Provide easy access to cool, shady areas under which to rest. Keep cool, fresh, clean water readily available. You can also cool down your pet with a sprinkler, wading pool, or frozen DIY pet treats. A close trim (not a shave) can help your pet cool down, as well.
All pets must be protected from the elements, but the following need a little extra vigilance and support:
- Senior dogs
- Pets with dark colored or thick hair
- Flat-faced breeds (such as pugs and bulldogs) that can’t pant like other breeds, making them susceptible to heatstroke
- Overweight pets
- Pets with heart or lung disease
- Young pets
Acclimating Your Pet
Adherence to summer pet safety wouldn’t be complete without an understanding of the sun’s impact. The golden rule is that if it’s too hot for you during any part of the day, it’s too hot for your pet. The hours surrounding dawn and dusk are perfect for your pet to enjoy the summer.
No, Not the Car!
Temperatures inside parked cars can be upwards of 40 degrees hotter than the outside. Because of this, it’s crucial that pets are never left alone in a car during the summer. On an 80 degree day, even with the windows down, the inside of a car can reach 100 degrees within half an hour. That’s no place for a pet!
Cool Down and Treatment
If your pet is a victim of heatstroke, he or she must be brought back to an internal temperature of 103.5 degrees. You can do this by:
- Spraying the fur down with lukewarm water
- Draping a cool, wet towel around the shoulders, covering the back
- Installing a fan nearby
- Giving water, if tolerated
Please give us a call. Temperatures above 104 degrees indicate imminent organ damage, and your pet must be professionally tested and treated. Intravenous fluids can help cool your pet down and reduce complications.
Summer pet safety is easy when your pet remains cool and healthy. A summer wellness exam can also help support your pet this season, and our doctors and staff are always happy to answer any questions.