This is a guest post by Jenny Spiers of MyPetNeedsThat.com
Summer is always equated with fun. Unfortunately, it may not be all that fun for your pet as hot weather can lead to heatstroke and even death in susceptible pets like dogs and cats. When environmental temperatures rise, we should be ready to help our pets get through the summer heat. Here are some hot weather safety tips for pets you can adhere to.
Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Pets, especially dogs and cats, are prone to dehydration particularly during extremely hot days. Water is needed to help ensure the proper functioning of cells. If pets get dehydrated, cells will not function properly. This can lead to a host of health problems and the pet’s nervous system can actually shut down. As such, it always helps to have a water bottle handy especially when taking your pet outdoors on a warm, sunny day.
You may also want to bring collapsible water bowls to make it a lot easier for your pet to drink. Adding a few drops of canned tuna broth in the water can help entice cats to drink since their thirst drive is not as well-developed as dogs.
If you’re at home, always offer plenty of fresh water to drink. It may also be wise to put several water bowls or even pet fountains in strategic locations around the house so that your pet will have something to drink from wherever it goes. Cats will benefit most from pet fountains as the free-flowing movement of water simulates prey.
Don’t Skip the Vet Visit
Summer is that time of year when fleas and ticks are at their most active. They’re like the spring breakers or the summertime vacationers flocking to various destinations all over the world. Warm weather is a sign for these ectoparasites to frolic. Not only do you have to protect your pet from these parasites, you will also need to protect them against heartworm disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes that are, interestingly, more active during spring and summer also.
A visit to your vet should help you determine the best possible protection for your pet. Your vet can also perform a very thorough examination of your pet so that different health issues can be addressed properly. This also helps prepare your pet for the summer heat. You can also ask your vet for more specific instructions on how you can help your pet stay cool and safe in hot weather.
Avoid Leaving Your Pet Inside Your Car
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your pet inside your car parked under the sun. You may think that since the environmental temperature is at 80 degrees, then it should be fairly safe for your pet. Studies show that this 80° can actually turn into 100 to 120° inside the car within minutes. If it is 90 degrees outside, your car’s cabin temperature can easily reach 160° within 10 minutes.
Considering that pets are more sensitive to temperature changes than humans, this rise in cabin temperature can easily kill your pet. Even cracking your car windows open will not cool the cabin temperature. It may reduce the temperature but only by a fraction.
If it is unavoidable that you have to leave your pet inside your car even for a while, it is a lot better to just leave them at home. If not, make sure to bring them with you. You can let them walk on a leash, but make sure they wear appropriate paw-wear to protect their paws from the hot pavement.
Let Your Pets Have Fun with Water
If your pets are not afraid of water, now’s the best time to let them play in your garden. There are sprinkler systems designed specifically for pets. If you don’t have one, you can actually improvise using a large plastic soda bottle. Punch some holes through the bottle and attach this to your garden hose. Seal off the opening and you’ve got an instant sprinkler. You may also want to invest in a pet swimming pool, or if you have a bathtub you’re no longer using, it should suffice.
You need to keep your pets cool. While giving them plenty of water to drink can address their need for hydration, sometimes you’ll also need the cooling effects of water yourself especially during hot summer days. Some pets like dogs actually love taking a dip in a pool that’s filled with ice, helping them feel a lot more comfortable.
Only Go Out on Certain Times of the Day
Environmental temperatures are often at their peak between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. As such, it is best to avoid going outdoors with your pet during these times of the day. If you have a daily routine with your pet such as walking or jogging, you may want to do it early in the morning, late afternoon, or even early evening when environmental temperatures are a lot more comfortable for your pet. You can also take them out at night, although you will have to institute other safety measures.
It is important to keep track of humidity levels as well. It may be a comfortable 70° outside, but if the relative humidity is also great, this 70-degrees can easily feel like 90°. You have to factor this into your decision to bring your pet outdoors for some fun times.
Keep Your Home and Your Pet’s Home Cool
At the end of the day you and your pet will still require a house to come home to. It is, thus imperative that you keep your home cool. Make sure that your air conditioning unit is working properly. Ensuring there is adequate ventilation in your house is also a must.
For your pet, you may want to invest in cooling pads or even pet-safe cooling fans so they will also feel a lot more comfortable in their respective homes. There are also pet crates or cages that are specifically designed to keep pets cool in hot weather.
Keeping pets safe during hot weather is a responsibility of every pet parent. Our pets are largely dependent on us for care and protection. Observing these tips should help you keep your pet safe when the environmental temperatures are simply not cooperating.