Summer Pet Safety: Schertz Animal Hospital’s Guide To Fun in the Sun
When the weather forecast calls for high temps and flash floods, you know that summer has finally arrived; and with it, the need to review the ins and outs of summer pet safety. Hot days coupled with high humidity create uncomfortable conditions for everyone, but this combination can be deadly for our furry friends, if we aren’t prepared. Even seemingly ordinary summer activities like playing on the beach, strolling around town, or chasing pop fly balls can turn ugly if your pet becomes overheated.
Dogs don’t have sweat glands like humans, so they “perspire” through their paw pads and panting. Unfortunately, when the humidity is high, very little evaporation can take place; so panting doesn’t cool your pet down the way it’s supposed to. If your pet isn’t given the opportunity needed to keep cool, or is placed in situations that are physically taxing, he or she is likely to become overheated, which can lead to a potentially fatal condition called heatstroke.
Stop, Look, and Listen…
The rule, Stop, Look and Listen, makes for a good warm weather pet safety reminder: when it’s hot and humid, Stop what you’re doing periodically, Look at your pet for signs of overheating, and Listen for rapid panting.
Signs of overheating include:
- Heavy panting
- Abnormal response to you and your commands, ignoring you, or seeming disoriented
- Retching or vomiting
- Has bright red or blue gums that are tacky to the touch
These conditions should be considered a life-threatening emergency. If your pet is showing these symptoms, act quickly and call us as soon as possible.
You’ll also want to:
- Immediately bring your pet into the shade or air conditioning
- Wrap your pet in lukewarm, wet towels (dish towels are best) to help ease his or her temperature back to normal, never use cool or cold water, ice, or ice water – it will worsen the shock
- Offer water, and keep it nearby, but don’t force your pet to drink
Play it Cool When It Comes to Summer Pet Safety
Keeping your pet cool and happy this summer doesn’t have to be difficult. Many of the precautions that you’ll want to take make sense for you, too; you’ll just have to be a extra-vigilant on his or her behalf.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Always have fresh drinking water and lots of shade available
- Look for pet-friendly indoor activities
- Exercise in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler
- If your pet seeks shade, let him or her stay there
- Beach sand, sidewalks, and even ordinary dirt can severely burn your pet’s feet when it’s hot out, so limit exposure (if you aren’t sure how just hot it is, take off your own shoe and find out)
- Weed and grass seeds can invade your pet’s underarms, face, feet or other places – check your pet often for burrs, foxtails, or other burrowing vegetation
- Regular grooming helps remove excess hair and undercoat, keeping your pet cooler
- All pets, whether long- or short-haired, can become sunburned, and excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer and cataracts
- Never, ever, leave your pet alone in a car even for a few minutes, even if you are in the shade or the windows are down!
If you think your pet is overheating or is suffering from heatstroke, cool him or her down right away and call us. Heatstroke is no laughing matter when it comes to pets, and can be fatal if not treated immediately and correctly. But never fear; we are here to help.