Summer Safety: Protecting Your Pet from the Heat
Summer Safety: Protecting Your Pet from the Heat
Summer is a time for fun and frolic, but for our furry friends, the heat can pose serious health risks. As pet parents, it's crucial to take steps to ensure that our pets stay safe and comfortable during the hot summer months. This blog post will delve into understanding the potential dangers of summer, such as heatstroke, paw burns from hot pavement, dehydration, and more. We'll also provide some practical tips on how you can help your pet have a safe and enjoyable summer.
Common symptoms include:
- excessive panting or drooling
- red gums and/or tongue
- dry mucous membranes
- lethargy, drowsy or uncoordinated behavior
- and in severe cases, loss of consciousness
- At an air temperature of 70°F, the inside of the car can heat up to 89°F within 10 minutes, and to 104°F within 30 minutes
- At an air temperature of 85°F, the temperature inside the car can soar to 104°F in 10 minutes and to 119°F within 30 minutes.
- At an air temperature of 90°F (32°C) outside, the inside of a car can heat up to 109°F in 10 minutes and reach up to 124°F in half an hour
- At an air temperature of 95°F, the car's interior can heat up to 114°F in 10 minutes and up to 129°F in 30 minutes
- At an air temperature of 77° degrees F, asphalt can heat up to approximately 125° degrees F
- At an air temperature of 86° degrees F, asphalt can heat up to approximately 135-143° degrees F
- At an air temperature of 87° degrees F, asphalt has been measured to be as hot as 143° degrees F
- At an air temperature of 101° degrees F, asphalt can heat up to approximately 162° degrees F
- loss of appetite
- reduced energy levels
- and sunken, dry eyes
Pet-friendly summer snacks to help your pet stay cool and hydrated
- Watermelon: This fruit is a great choice because it's made up of about 92% water. Just make sure to remove the seeds and rind.
- Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is a delicious and hydrating snack for dogs, just be sure to remove the rind and seeds before serving.
- Blueberries: These small fruits are packed with antioxidants and can be a refreshing treat for dogs. You can also freeze them for an added cool crunch!
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are mostly water, so they're a low-calorie, hydrating snack.
- Pumpkin: While we often think of pumpkin in the fall, canned, pure pumpkin (not pie filling) can be a nutritious, low-calorie treat year-round.
- Apples: Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core.
- Green Beans: These can be served raw, cooked, or frozen for a healthy and refreshing snack.
- Carrots: Carrots can be served raw, cooked, or frozen. They also promote good dental health by helping to clean your dog's teeth.
- Bananas: These are a great source of vitamins and can be frozen for a cool treat.
- Homemade Popsicles: You can make dog-friendly popsicles using ingredients like low-sodium broth, pureed pumpkin, or mashed bananas.
10 easy ways to keep your pet cool during the summer
- Paddling Pool: Set up a small kiddie pool in the shade for your dog to splash around in. It's a great way for dogs to cool down and also have some fun!
- Cooling Mat: A DIY cooling mat can be made by soaking a towel in cold water, wringing it out, and then freezing it. Place it where your dog usually rests.
- Frozen Treats: Make homemade frozen dog treats using dog-friendly foods like peanut butter, bananas, or blueberries.
- Ice Cubes: Add ice cubes to your dog's water dish to keep their water cooler for longer. Some dogs also enjoy playing with and chewing on ice cubes.
- DIY Air Conditioner: If you have a fan, place a frozen bottle of water in front of it to create a cool breeze.
- Shady Spaces: Ensure your garden or yard has shady areas where your dog can retreat from the sun. You can create this with a tarp or even a large umbrella.
- Cooling Bandana: Soak a bandana in cold water, wring it out, and tie it around your dog's neck for a quick cool-down.
- Early Morning or Late Evening Walks: Try to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler to avoid overheating.
- Wet Towel for Lying On: A wet towel for your dog to lie on can provide a cool spot for them.
- Hydration Station: Set up multiple water stations for your pet around the house and yard, ensuring they always have access to fresh, cool water.
Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind during the summer months:
- Never Leave Dogs Unattended Outdoors: When you're not home, it's best to keep your dog indoors. They can quickly become overheated without the option to go inside for cooler air.
- Avoid Leaving Your Dog in a Parked Car: Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels. It's best to leave your dog at home when running errands.
- Keep Your Home Cool: If you're leaving your dog at home, make sure your home stays cool. Leave the air conditioning on or set up fans around the house.
- Regular Grooming: Some dogs have heavy coats that can make them hotter in the summer. Regular grooming can help keep them cool, but be sure not to shave them too close, as their coat can also protect them from sunburn.
- Sunscreen for Dogs: Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can get sunburned. Consider applying pet-safe sunscreen to your dog’s skin if they’re going to be outside in the sun for extended periods.
- Mind the Paws: As discussed earlier, hot pavement can burn a dog's paws. Try to walk your dog on the grass or dirt where it's cooler, or invest in dog booties for protection.
- Outdoor Safety: If your dog is outside, make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water. Consider setting up a fan or misting system to help them stay cool.
- Know the Signs of Heatstroke: Familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke in dogs - like excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy - so you can take action if needed.
Keeping your pet safe during the summer months involves recognizing and mitigating the risks of heatstroke, hot pavement, and dehydration, and providing your pet with ample opportunities to stay cool and hydrated. From creating shady spaces and offering dog-friendly summer snacks, to understanding the signs of heatstroke and never leaving your dog unattended in a hot environment, these tips will help ensure your pet has a healthy and enjoyable summer.
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