|If your pet has to stay outside during the summer heat, give them relief: Freeze 2-liter water-filled, plastic soda bottles and place where your pet can lie next to them to keep cool. Depending on the size of your pets, you may want to use larger bottles and more of them. Replace with fresh frozen bottles as they thaw.|
Remember, animals get hot, too. Short-nosed dogs (Bulldogs, Pekes, Pugs, etc.) are often more susceptible to the heat, and for some species (such as ferrets and rabbits) temperatures over 75 degrees can kill. Also, change their drinking water during the heat of the day with a fresh, cool supply.
Better yet, bring them inside.
Many pet guardians bring their companion canines out from the safe confines of their well-ventilated and/or air-conditioned homes and along for outdoor excursions that put them at risk for exposure to sun, heat, and a variety of environmental stressors. Most cats tend to stay at home and inside, and are therefore less prone to heat-associated health issues.
Yet, any time we take our pets outside of a climate-controlled environment we put them in harm's way. Here are my top five tips to keep your pet safe despite the heat.
1. Never Leave Your Pet in a Non-Climate Controlled Car
One of the deadliest heat hazards for pets is elevated temperature experienced inside our cars.
Never leave your pet in a non-climate controlled car, even on what feels to be a cool day. A Stanford University Medical Center study (published in Pediatrics magazine) determined that the temperature inside a vehicle can increase by an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit within 60 minutes (over half of a degree per minute), regardless of the outside temperature.
The hotter your car becomes, the more likely your pet will also experience a commensurate increase in body temperature.
You may only plan to be away from the car for a few minutes, but unforeseeable circumstances can keep you away for longer. As a result, your pet will broil and potentially die inside the "glass coffin" (as cars are commonly referred to in the veterinary community).
2. Promote Your Pet's Hydration
70-80 percent of a dog or cat's body mass is made of water. Remarkably, losing only 10 percent of the body's total fluids can cause serious illness.
Panting causes water to be expelled from the body through insensible body water loss. Further body fluid will be lost through the skin, digestive tract, and other organ system functioning during times of activity, illness, and when exposed to heat.
Keep your pets as hydrated as possible by always having fresh water available in the places your pets spends time and frequently offering small sips of water during activity.
You can even pre-hydrate your pet on a continuous basis by feeding fresh, moist, and whole-food diets instead of kibble.
3. Avoid Exercise During the Hottest Parts of the Day
Instead of venturing out for your daily activity between 10am and 4pm, exercise during cooler early morning or evening times that are typically less sunny. Humidity exacerbates a pet's inability to efficiently clear heat, so avoid exercising during warmer and more humid times.
4. Seek Shade and Take Frequent Breaks
Find locations for walking and exercise that are primarily shaded instead of those constantly exposed to the sun.
Even if you and your pooch feel fully capable of taking on challenging intensity and lengths of activity, stop and rest on a frequent basis. At least every 15 minutes is my general recommendation, but less physically fit pets and people exercising in hotter and more humid climates should stop as often as needed.
5. Schedule a Pre-Exercise Veterinary Exam
The ideal scenario would find us guardians keeping our pets healthy enough for physical activity year-round. Yet, seasonal deterrents and other impedances to regular activity can cause unhealthy weight gain and loss of fitness. Before engaging in outdoor activities, especially during hotter months, schedule an examination with your veterinarian.
Especially with geriatric and less-physically fit pets, underlying illness or injury could make your companion canine or feline less able to exercise or evacuate heat from its body. Arthritis, degenerative joint disease (the progression of arthritis), cancer, metabolic illnesses (kidney and liver disease, hypothyroidism, etc.), and others could have a negative impact.
If you plan to to expose your pets to any hot environments or activity, always prioritize safety to ensure that potentially catastrophic health hazards do not occur.
If your pet accompanies you for car travel, only bring him along when going to dog and cat friendly destinations that permit pets to enter and remain in a comfortable, plentifully shaded, and low-stress environment.
Have a fun and SAFE summer with your family, friends, and pets. ❤ Suse