Courtesy of The Big Bad Woof
Summer is here and it is great to get out of the house, but there are some things you need to know to keep your furry companions safe and chill.
The first is to be aware of how your dogs and cats are handling the temperature, and one way to tell if your pet is in distress is to check their breathing. Panting is the way they cool themselves, and if they are panting heavily that may be a sign that your pet is over heated. This is particularly important with flat-nosed breeds, as they can have a more difficult time keeping cool and are prone to heat exhaustion.
- Save your outdoor activities with your pets for early in the morning or late in the day when the temperatures are not extreme.
- Check the pavement to make sure it is not too hot for tender paws. Place the back of your hand on the surface and hold it for 5 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet's paws.
- Be mindful if you have animals with light or white fur - they may need specially formulated sunscreen or a Sun Tee to protect against sunburn. This is especially important with the nose, ears and tails. Alternatively, darker colored dogs may absorb heat faster than lighter toned dogs.
- If you are out when it is hot, follow the feline cue and find some shade! Our local parks are great on hot days as they are typically several degrees cooler due to the tree cover and fresh air.
- Carry plenty of water for both you and your companion animals, or make sure water sources are available along the way.
- Do not under any circumstances leave your pets in the car on even moderately warm days. The temperature inside of a car rises very rapidly to up to 140 F and the consequences can be deadly.
- If you pet is prone to over-heating or a senior animal, keep them in a cool shaded area on especially hot days.
- Freeze food or treats for your animals! This is a great way to allow them to replenish and keep them occupied at the same time.
- Water sports are great and we know many cats who enjoy playing with water on hot days too!
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive panting or labored breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, and drooling and mild weakness according to the ASPCA. More severe symptoms can include seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and a body temperature of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion you can use these immediate tips to cool them down.
- Wet your animals whole body with cool (not cold) water, but be careful to keep the water away from the eyes and ears.
- Place an ice pack on their head and do not give them aspirin, aspirin during periods of sever dehydration can make the effects worse.
- Rub the dogs legs to help improve circulation and avoid shock.
- Allow the animal to drink as much cool water as they'd like, and adding a pinch of salt will help replace lost minerals.
In other words, BE COOL!
BBW Staff Recommendations to Help Your Pet Through the Summer
- Mushers Secret - Paw Protectant for hot pavement
- COOLA Pet Sunscreen for dogs and horses
- Farm Dog Naturals Salvation - for dry skin and crusty nose and paws
- Cycle Dog Trail Buddy Bowls - 22 ounce water bowls for hiking
- OllyBottles in 600ml and 1Ltr sizes for traveling
Please don't take your pets on hot surfaces without protecting their paws! The boardwalk or hot pavement can cause burns.