Keeping FIDO Safe in the Summer Heat
June 12, 2014 • Health & Wellness
Hot weather can bring on dangers that significantly affect your pet, including dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn and even death. With a few preventative measures, you can easily help your pup avoid the negative effects of the sun. Below are important tips to follow from FIDO’s friend Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and fastest growing pet care franchise.
Pets Need Sunscreen
Just like humans, cats and dogs can get sunburned, especially if he/she has light-colored hair. Animal sunburns can cause the same problems as that of humans: peeling, redness and even cancer. As skin cancer in pets is a serious concern, purchasing pet-friendly sun screen can go a long way in protecting the health of your pet when the heat kicks in. Places that are easy to forget, but prone to burning are: inside the nostrils, tip of nose, around your dog’s lips and the inside of ears for dogs with standup ears.
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, but never to the skin, so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.
Pets Need Extra Water…But don’t let them drink just anything
Give your dog extra water during the summer, but be sure not to leave the water out for too long. Change the water often to prevent your pet from getting sick from bacteria that can grow in hot water. Also, when dogs are thirsty, they are bound to drink something they shouldn't. Puddles of what may look like water on the ground can be mistaken for dangerous chemicals, so keep an eye out when your dog is looking for something to sip on.
Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised at the beach – not all pets are good swimmers. Introduce your pet to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. To remove salt from the fur, rinse your pet after swimming.
Pets at Outdoor Summer Events
Warm temperatures and outdoor fun go hand-in-hand, but when the temperatures hit record highs, refrain from taking your pet to crowded summer events like concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets.
Exercising in the Heat
Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but show extra care to older and overweight pets that are more at risk from high temperatures. If you go for a run on the beach, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Extra caution should also be taken with short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats.
Watch for Heatstroke
Dogs can develop heatstroke fairly quickly. Signs of this include excessive panting, staring, anxious facial expressions, warm skin, refusal to obey commands by owner, vomiting, collapse and rapid heartbeat. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from this, lower the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after just a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. If this happens, take the dog to the vet immediately – don’t try to solve this yourself.