Everyone knows the dog days of summer are finally upon us, and that means we need to mind our furry friends and their sensitivity to hot temperatures. As the mercury rises (with a heat wave about to set in), beat the heat with these summer pet safety tips!
Here’s a great infographic by the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University that serves as a handy guide with a wealth of information on the risk of heat to pets this summer.
Summer Pet Safety Tips for Travel
Traveling with your pets this summer? Fun! But also be aware of what the temperatures mean for your dog or cat when on the road. Summer poses more dangers when traveling than any other time of year for your pet due to the heat. Automobiles heat up incredibly quickly even with windows partially open when parked in the shade. If you travel with your pet, never leave them in a parked vehicle as they can overheat in just a few minutes. Also make sure that when you are driving, your pet is property restrained and safe so that they can’t jump out of the vehicle or interfere with your driving!
Seat Belts for Dogs
Did you know that in New Jersey, driving with your pet unrestrained can result in a ticket or fine? Yup, it’s true. Fortunately they make seatbelts for dogs to keep your pooch safe en route. Not sure what seat belt is best for your dog? Don’t worry, this article from Rover has everything you need to know about seat belts for dogs, so read up and then buy a belt that is right for Fido.
Other Summer Pet Safety Tips
Risks in the summer aren’t just about travel in vehicles. Hot pavement can burn paws and sensitive pads on cats and dogs, dehydration and heat stroke from exercise (or just the heat alone) can cause issues, and summer fireworks and thunderstorms can cause your cat or dog quite a bit of anxiety. You can protect your pet’s paws with booties, or even better, avoid being outside during the peak of the heat midday through early evening. When it comes to anxiety, there’s a lot of different options on dealing with an anxious pet. From veterinary acupuncture to Thundershirts, and even anti-anxiety meds can help. There’s even Thundershirts for cats now! Be sure to check with your veterinarian on what they recommend for you. If you’re one of our clients, set up an appointment today before the storms (or fireworks) roll in so that you and your pet can both relax.
Keep Your Pet Hydrated!
What about water? That’s the most important thing when it’s hot out in keeping your pet hydrated and comfortable. Many dogs like ice cubes as a snack, and while cats can be a little more picky, you can try freezing chicken broth to make ice cubes that many picky felines will enjoy. When traveling, make sure to have a water bowl and water to offer your pet so that they don’t go without and of course on the hottest days, it’s best to stay inside and keep cool.
While most cats aren’t a huge fan of cooling down in the water, many dogs love to go for a swim, or run through a sprinkler in the yard. Don’t leave any pet unattended near a pool as just like small children, pets can also drown (not all dogs are great swimmers and even the best swimmers can get tired). If you’re going to be outside doing things around the house with your pet, turning on a sprinkler is a great way to help them stay cool and still hang out with you. For those longer haired pets, you can trim them up to reduce some of the fur but the ASPCA recommends you never shave them completely as the different layers of fur do protect their skin from heat, bugs, and sun!
Heat Stroke in Pets is Serious
Of course, if you suspect your dog or cat may be overheating, it’s important to get help immediately. Heat stroke is dangerous and can be fatal. Excessive panting and/or difficulty breathing are just a few of the early signs. Other signs can include seizures, vomiting, and an elevated body temperature. If you think your pet may be struggling with the heat, get them out of the sun and to a veterinarian right away! We hope these summer pet safety tips help keep you and your cat or dog safe all summer long.