By: Abby Marshall | Reviewed by Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Jun 29, 2017
The warmer temperatures of summer are almost here, and for many of us, that means more time spent outside enjoying the weather. Whether your summer plans include trips to the beach, long walks in the fresh air, or simply throwing open your windows to air out your house, don’t forget to keep your pets’ safety and comfort in mind as temperatures rise. Here we go over six ways for keeping pets cool and safe during the summer months.
If you and Fido enjoy a daily walk together, during the summer months, time these excursions for before or after the heat of midday. Keep in mind that sand, asphalt, and concrete surfaces can get very hot and burn your pet’s paws, so choose a path that allows your pup to walk in grass. Carry water with you and offer some to your companion at regular intervals. Dark-colored dogs especially can heat up in direct sun, and light-colored dogs are more prone to skin cancer, so opt for a shaded route if possible.
During the heat of midday, make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water and a shady spot to lie in. If your pup is outdoors, don’t rely on a dog house to provide shade – this type of small, enclosed space can become even hotter than it is outside. Instead, consider hanging a tarp or other cover that gives shade while still allowing airflow.
Although Rover might enjoy trips to the store or running daily errands with you, in the heat of summer, it’s often a better choice to leave him at home. Don’t ever leave your dog (or cat or child) inside a car on a hot day. Temperatures inside an enclosed vehicle can quickly rise to lethal levels.
Many pet owners think they are doing their long-haired furry friend a favor by removing its coat during the summer months. However, that coat is there for a reason. Not only does it help the animal regulate its body temperature, it also provides protection from the sun. Shaving it off increases the pet’s risk of skin cancer and may actually make the pet hotter rather than cooler. Instead, groom your pet regularly to remove any mats or extra hair trapped next to the skin to promote good airflow.
There are a number of products on the market that can be used to help keep your pet cool. These range from cooling pads and vests to chew products that can be frozen. A small wading pool can also be a fun accessory for a dog that loves water. Many of these items can provide relief on a hot day. Also consider giving frozen treats, like ice cream specially made for cats and dogs or a homemade “pupsicle.” Ice cubes can be added to water bowls – just make sure your pup isn’t an aggressive chewer, as chomping down on a hard cube of ice could cause damage to teeth.
Pets that are overweight or elderly, or those with cardiovascular or respiratory disease, may have a more difficult time in hot temperatures. Certain breeds with short snouts, such as Persians, pugs, boxers, etc., may have trouble breathing in the heat. Take extra care that these pets are not overworked during hot temperatures, and ensure that they have a cool place to rest and plenty of fresh water.
Summer is the time to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of warmer temperatures. However, as temperatures rise, keep your pet’s comfort and safety in mind so that everyone has a fun and healthy summer season.
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