How to Protect Your Pet During Summer
With warm and long days, you have more time to stay outside, walk in the park, have a picnic, get a tan, and hang out with friends and family. That is if you are just a regular human being, but if you’re one of the 41% of Canadian households who own at least one dog (37% for cats), then summer will be quite different for you.
As a responsible pet owner, it is important to keep your cats and dogs cool during the summer heat. Why? These furries experience summer a little different than we do. Unlike you, dogs and cats are unable to sweat and they always wear that fur coat with them.
Overheating can lead to heat stroke --- putting the lives of your fur babies at risk. Some of its symptoms include:
Heavy panting or difficulty breathing
Increased heart rate
On the other hand, extreme overheating may cause seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or pale gums.
Overheating is Not Equal
Some pets are more susceptible to overheating than others. If you have pets that meet the description below, they may need a little more of your care and attention during hot summer days.
Flat-nosed breeds – shorter snouts make panting more difficult.
Age and physique – Old pets, very young pets, and overweight pets are also at risk
White or thin fur – these pets are at high risks of developing sunburns on exposed areas
Black or thick fur – dark furs absorb more heat
Highly active pets – too much activity can lead to overheating
1. Don’t leave your dog in a hot car
You’ve probably heard this many times but a little reminder won’t hurt. It will only take minutes for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate inside your hot car. During summer, car temperatures can soar up to 160 degrees when parked directly under the sun! If you want to drive around with your dog, bring water and take your dog with you when you leave the car.
2. Keep your dog’s paw cool
Hot metal (like the back of a truck) or asphalt can easily burn your dog’s paws. It can also increase your dog’s body temperature and lead to overheating.
3. Water and shade is a priority
Dogs get thirstier when it is hot. And their only means of cooling down is panting and drinking. Keep your best friend under the shade as much as possible and always have fresh water for them to drink.
4. Give your dogs a kiddy pool
Dogs that love water will love it even more during the smouldering summer months. Give your dogs free access to a kiddy pool and it’ll make a lot of difference! If you have a swimming pool, that’s good too. But make sure you are around. Dogs can swim but they might not be able to get out without your help.
5. Always pay attention to your dog
Perhaps, the most important tip of all is to pay close attention to your dog. You’ll know when your dog seems uncomfortable. Contact your vet immediately after giving your dog a cool place to rest and cold water to drink.
Top 5 Summer Safety Tips for Cats
1. Keep your cat’s favourite spot cool
Most cats have their own “spot”. And it’s a good idea to keep this area cool and shaded during the summer. If you don’t have air conditioning, a fan will do. Cool air and shade will reduce the risks of developing heat-related issues during the smouldering summer months.
2. Keep the windows open
Cats love napping on windowsills because of fresh air. Just make sure you close the screens to keep them in! Cats, by nature, are curious. If there is a way out, they will find it!
3. Vaccinate your kitty
Most bugs are active during summer so, it’s a good idea to vaccinate your cat against potential harmful bites. Up to date vaccinations can make a lot of difference. If your poor kitty does get a bit, contact your vet immediately!
4. Make some “catsicles”
Like humans, cats love popsicles during summer. Make them your own version of “catsicles” by mixing dry food with water. Put it in the bottom of a cup and freeze overnight. Magic!
5. Always keep a close eye
Paying close attention to your kitty during these hot summer months should be one of your priorities. Look for signs like disorientation, panting, sweaty paws, and rapid breathing as these are tell-tale symptoms of overheating. If you do notice this, give your cat a cool place to rest and plenty of cold water! It’s also best to contact your veterinarian when there’s no sign of improvement.
Your pets are your best friends. It’s such a bummer if you are enjoying summer to the fullest while they don’t. With careful planning, using cooling products (i.e. cooling vests, cooling mats, or just a damp towel), and some tender love and care, you’ll be able to enjoy more summer days with your beloved furries.
Cover Photo: Kelsea Vercillo & Rocco