Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Summer Heat Safety For Pets
The dog days of summer have arrived – and that means hot temperatures, hazy air, and a deep need to nap through the hottest part of the day. Summer heat also tends to drive us outdoors to play. Trips to the mountains or swimming in Folsom Lake can pry us out of our air conditioned houses in hopes that it will be cooler… Somehow…
Regardless if you are at home or on the go, it’s important to remember that the heat of summer can be a serious threat to your pet’s health and safety. But with a little prior planning and common sense, keeping your pet cool can be a breeze. Here are our tips for summer heat safety for pets.
Summer Safety Tips
Never leave your pet in a parked car – It doesn’t matter how quickly you plan to run into the store or that you’ve left the window cracked open, leaving your pet in a hot car could be a death sentence. Temperatures inside your vehicle are far greater than the temps outside. When it’s just 80 degrees outside, the temp in your vehicle can be over 100 degrees (and rising) within 15 minutes.
Limit exercise for your pet on hot days – Pets need exercise no matter the time of year; but during the summer months it’s best to exercise your pet early in the morning, or later in the evening when the day is at its coolest. Don’t forget to bring along some fresh water and a travel bowl, so your pet can keep hydrated while you go for a run or frolic in the dog park.
Bring your pet indoors while it’s hot outside – Although we have sweat glands throughout our bodies that help regulate our body temperature – animals don’t have that luxury. On hot days make sure your pet has the comfort of air conditioning in your home to keep cool.
Make sure your pet has shade and fresh water – No matter how much time your dog or cat will be outside, make sure that there is ample shade available for your four-legged friend. Also ensure that your pet has an ample supply of fresh water. A good rule of thumb for the outdoors is one bowl per-pet, plus one (scattered throughout your yard). And remember to keep your indoor water bowl full at all times, too.
Be prepared for power outages – If the power goes out on a hot day and takes your AC with it, you’re not the only one that will suffer. Have a plan in place for your pets in case the power gets knocked out. Be sure to keep your pet’s water bowls full, and find ways to cool down your pet throughout the outage. Spraying your pet down with the hose or going for a swim in cold water can keep your pet’s core temperature cool during prolonged outages.
Be Knowledgeable About Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a very real threat to your pet’s health and safety during the summer months. Pets that are very young or very old are more at risk of heatstroke, as well as those that are overweight or have heart problems. Likewise, certain breeds, including boxers, pugs, and shih tzus, are at a higher risk for heat stroke, as well.
Heat stroke in pets should be considered an emergency condition. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, cool him or her down by coming into the air conditioning or wetting him or her down with cool (not cold) water, then call us immediately for a consultation on the next steps.
Symptoms of heat stroke can include:
- Heavy, rapid panting
- Bright red or blue tongue and gums
- Glazed eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive thirst
- Lack of coordination
- Profuse salivation
If you have any questions or concerns about summer heat safety for pets, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. And, again, if you suspect that your pet’s suffering from heat stroke, please don’t wait to call us for help. We’d rather tell you that there’s nothing to worry about, than say we wished you had called sooner…