Dog in a small poolThe good ol’ Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this summer will have higher temperatures than previous years, and, after the long winter, we say, bring it on!

However, this means a little extra monitoring of your pet’s wellbeing as heat-related illness can sneak up on your pet. If you are diligent in observing any changes – from the subtle to the drastic – your pet will remain cool, comfy, and safe. Make only happy memories this summer and take advantage of these heat safety tips and reminders.

9 Tips to Help Pets Stay Cool

We recommend that pet owners:

  • Provide access to shade and fresh, cool water
  • Restrict your pet’s exertion to early morning or evening hours
  • Discourage overly enthusiastic play in the middle of the day
  • Leave pets at home on the hottest days
  • Steer your pet away from hot pavement or concrete to prevent blistering paws (or at least provide booties to protect feet)
  • Brush and groom your pet to get rid of matted hair that prevents air flow
  • Let your pet cool off on a tile floor or cool, damp towel
  • Set up a wading pool or sprinkler for your pet to cool off (they’ll love it!)
  • Treat your pet with cool or frozen treats that are also high in water content (dog ice cream, frozen broth popsicle, cool melon or cucumber, a refreshing smoothie)

Pets At Risk

Which pets are most at risk of overheating? Brachycephalic (pug-nosed) breeds (Pugs, Pekingese, Boston terriers and Persian cats) can have breathing issues. Thick-coated breeds, pets with heart or lung issues, elderly pets and obese pets are also at higher risk for heatstroke. However, any animal exposed to too much high heat and humidity throughout the day can suffer heat-related symptoms.

Heatstroke: No Laughing Matter

June, July, and August share the hottest temperatures and, even though the weather creates dozens of outdoor opportunities, your pet may be better off lounging at home in the AC. If you do happen to be out and about with your pet, never leave him or her alone in your parked car. Even with the windows down, internal temperatures can soar to 120 degrees in less than thirty minutes.

Your pet’s normal core temperature is 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. When exposed to extreme heat or exertion, or temperatures that hover above 105 degrees, he or she is in grave danger. Your pet may require your first aid know-how, or emergency care to prevent organ damage or even death from heatstroke. If you notice any of these signs, call us immediately:

  • Rapid panting
  • Thick, ropey saliva hanging from the mouth
  • Dry or tacky gums or lips
  • Grey or purple gum coloration
  • Seizures
  • Rectal temperature of 106 degrees, or higher

Pets and Heat-Safety

It’s critical to swiftly cool down your overheated pet but don’t use ice packs as they constrict blood flow, which impedes your pet’s ability to get rid of heat.

Instead, apply compresses dampened with room temperature water to the back, head, belly, armpits, and groin area. Absorb any excess water, allow your pet to air dry, and take his or her temperature again.

Try and re-hydrate your pet with a cool drink, but to prevent aspiration, additional vomiting, and further loss of electrolytes, don’t force your pet to drink.

Summer Pets and Heat-Safety

The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center would love to see your pet before hot weather (or anytime) to identify and support any health conditions that could be complicated by heat. We look forward to supporting all facets of your pet’s health and wellness, and hope you’ll let us know this summer if you have any questions or concerns about your four-legged friend.