Summer’s here, and that means there are some important things to think about when it comes to your pets. Warm weather can be dangerous for our pets. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and that’s because animals don’t sweat like people do. You probably knew that dogs cool themselves through panting, but did you know that they sweat through their paws too? When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool.
While cats tend tolerate the heat a little better than dogs, and even prefer it (we’ve all seen a cat stretched out on a sunny windowsill), that doesn’t mean that you should forget about your cat this summer! Read on to learn some important summer safety tips for dogs and cats.
- Never, ever, EVER leave your pet in a hot car. It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES –for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t ealize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your pet home on warm days. If you’re driving around with your dog or cat in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your pet with you when you leave the car.
- Keep the paws in mind. When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. Also, it’s not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out or be injured or killed in an accident).
- Water and shade. Do your best to keep your furry friend cool and comfortable when you’re out and about. If you and your pet are out in the sun for an extended period of time, make sure there’s plenty of water available to avoid dehydration. Also, get yourpet into the shade as much as possible.
- Haircuts. If you have a pet with a thick coat, consider a haircut! One inch is a good length to avoid sunburn (yes, pets can get sunburns too!) and also keep your pet cool.
- This one’s for the cats: keep your windows screened! We all know cats love windowsills. You may want your house to be ventilated, but you definitely do not want your kitty to fall out!
- Stay safe at barbeques. Backyard barbeques are a lot of fun, but the food and drinks offered can be bad for pets. Keep your pets away from alcohol and foods like grapes,onions, and chocolate.
- Keep your pets away from fireworks. The dangers are obvious – pets are at risk for fatal injuries and painful burns if they are allowed to run around freely when fireworks are being used. Some fireworks also contain chemicals toxic to pets like potassium nitrate and arsenic. Not to mention, the loud noises can be frightening and disturbing to pets (remember, their hearing is many times better than ours).
And perhaps most important, pay attention to your dog and cat – you’ll know when they seem uncomfortable or like they might be in some trouble. Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog or cat, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind as the days grow longer!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.