5 Summer Pet Perils

Summer’s here! School’s out, the pools are open, and everyone wants to eat alfresco. But, before you change into your swimsuit, consider how this hot season affects your pet. Our All Creatures Animal Hospital team wants you and your pet to have a fabulous summer, so we explain hot weather hazards that could hurt your four-legged friend and the appropriate precautions you should take to keep them safe.

Summer pet peril #1: Heatstroke

Your pet’s normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees. When environmental temperatures or excessive exercise cause their temperature to rise above normal, they can experience heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening situation. Continued elevated body temperatures detrimentally affect the pet’s organ systems and may trigger disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which leads to life-threatening clotting abnormalities. Tips to protect your pet from heatstroke include:

  • Know your pet’s risk — All pets are susceptible to heatstroke, but certain pets, including brachycephalic breeds, obese pets, senior pets, and those who have a medical condition, are at increased risk.
  • Keep your pet inside — On especially hot days, keep your pet inside.
  • Take frequent breaks — On outings, take frequent shade and drinking breaks.
  • Exercise your pet carefully — Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days, and walk your pet during the cooler times of the day.
  • Know heatstroke signs — Initial heatstroke signs include lethargy, excessive panting, thick, mucoid drool, and red mucous membranes. As the condition worsens, signs include vomiting, diarrhea, dry mucous membranes, collapse, and seizures.
  • Know heatstroke first aid — If you suspect your pet is overheated, first aid steps include:
    • Move your pet to a cool area.
    • Offer your pet cool water.
    • If possible, take your pet’s rectal temperature to monitor their progress and to provide to our veterinary team.
    • Pour lukewarm water over your pet, concentrating on their abdomen, groin, paws, and the back of their neck.
    • Never use ice or cold water to cool your pet to prevent serious complications such as shock.
    • Seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your pet may seem to recover, but overheating can cause serious internal damage, and your pet needs immediate veterinary attention.

Summer pet peril #2: Dehydration

Water is vital for all living creatures, including your pet. Dehydration greatly increases your pet’s heatstroke risk, and ensuring they remain hydrated is especially important in the summer, because they lose fluids when they pant to cool themselves. Tips to help keep your pet hydrated include:

  • Provide several water sources — Provide numerous water sources throughout your home, using several bowl shapes and sizes.
  • Clean water bowls — Clean your pet’s bowls daily and refresh their water.
  • Pack water — When outside with your pet, pack water and a portable water bowl, so you can easily and frequently offer them water.
  • Consider investing in a water fountain — Some pets, especially cats, are attracted to running water, and may drink more if they have a water fountain.
  • Monitor your pet’s hydration — Monitor your pet’s hydration to ensure they are drinking enough. Dehydration signs include lethargy, tacky mucous membranes, a dry nose, and decreased skin elasticity.

Summer pet peril #3: Hot cars

Pets should never be left in a parked vehicle. Temperatures rise to dangerous levels quickly, creating an oven-like environment. Pet owners commonly use the following excuses when contemplating leaving their pet in their car:

  • “I’ll only be a few minutes” — You can easily get distracted or delayed, preventing you from returning to your pet in enough time to keep them safe. 
  • “I’ll park in the shade” — Parking in the shade doesn’t keep your car’s temperature at a safe level for your pet.
  • “I’ll leave the window cracked” — Cracking the window isn’t enough to keep temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.

If your pet can’t accompany you when you leave the car, keep them in your air-conditioned home. 

Summer pet peril #4: Sunburn

Pets, especially those who are light colored, have a thin hair coat, are naturally hairless, or are hairless because of a medical condition, are at sunburn risk. Tips to protect your four-legged friend from sunburn include:

  • Seek shade — When outdoors, seek shady paths and rest in shady areas.
  • Avoid dangerous conditions — When UV ratings are especially high, keep your pet indoors.
  • Apply pet-friendly sunscreen — Apply a pet-friendly sunscreen product to your pet’s exposed skin. Keep them from licking the area for 10 to 15 minutes, so the sunscreen absorbs properly.
  • Reapply your pet’s sunscreen — Reapply your pet’s sunscreen every four to six hours and after they go swimming.
  • Use sun protective clothing — Sun protective clothing protects your pet from harmful UV rays.

Summer pet peril #5: Pavement burn

You may think your pet’s paws are tough, but pavement that is too hot for you to stand on barefoot also is too hot for your pet’s paws. Protect your pet from pavement burn by:

  • Avoiding hot pavement — Walk on sand, grass, or dirt pathways, or use shady routes.
  • Checking the pavement — Place your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold your hand there for 10 seconds, the pavement is too hot for your pet’s paws.
  • Using pet booties — If you can’t avoid hot pavement, protect your pet’s paws with well-fitted booties.

Contact our All Creatures Animal Hospital team if your pet encounters a summer peril, or if you would like to schedule a wellness examination to ensure they are ready for warm weather fun.

By |2024-02-15T00:12:34+00:00July 17th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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