Summer is the perfect time to experience the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather, but the heat can take a serious toll on your four-legged companion. Animal Friends has a few helpful tips to help you beat the heat and keep your furry friend safe, healthy and cool during the dog (and cat and rabbit!) days of summer.
Practice vehicle safety.
Your pet should never be left in a parked car. Even with the windows slightly open, a car can quickly reach an internal temperature in excess of 120 degrees. This is enough to cause animals to suffer severe heat stroke or even death. Your pet is much safer at home on warm days, especially if your destination is not a pet-friendly one. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, call 9-1-1 immediately.
As the temperature rises, animals need to drink much more water to stay hydrated. Be sure your pet has plenty of cool, clean water to drink, especially if they’re spending time outside on warm days. Check water dishes frequently and be sure they are placed out of the sun’s reach in shady areas. Drinking dishes should be secured to avoid accidental spills.
Protect outdoor animals.
While we encourage all pet owners to bring their pets indoors to live, we understand that’s not always feasible. Animals that live or spend long periods of time outdoors must have shelter from the sun. A doghouse should be placed in an area of your yard that is shaded by trees or other buildings. Just like a vehicle, the interior of a doghouse can reach unsafe temperatures if it is in direct sunlight.
Pennsylvania state law requires a doghouse be made from materials other than metal and have four sturdy walls, a roof and a floor. The area around your doghouse should be kept clean and sanitary. Remove waste daily to reduce odor and flies.
Beat the heat.
Heat stress and heat stroke pose serious summer threats to pets, in particular those that are very young, elderly or overweight. Animals can have trouble maintaining their normal body heat, especially when outdoor temperatures and humidity levels are higher than normal.
Signs of severe heat stress include heavy panting, increased heart rate, glassy eyes, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is overheated, move them out of the sun immediately and immerse them in cool water. Apply ice packs to the head, neck and chest and provide cool water for them to drink. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Animal Friends wants you and your pet to have a happy and healthy summer together! To learn about fun summertime activities for you and your pet, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.