Summers here in the East Village can be fearsomely hot, but our pets (and we, too) often cannot avoid being outside for some lengths of time. Whether for walks, trips to the dog park, or just a brief spell to use the toilet, our dogs all need a bit of fresh air and exercise. However, in the sweltering heat, they can easily become overheated, putting them at risk for dangerous heatstroke. Read on for important reminders and tips from our animal hospital.
Summer Pet Safety Tips
Two golden retriever dogs on the old road.Keeping your dog, cat, or any other pet cool in the summer can be a challenge without proper air conditioning. Luckily, many of us have this luxury, but for those of us who have limited or less efficient AC, a cooling pad can help your dog or cat stay cool while inside. Additionally, there are many other precautions you can take to avoid any heat related illness in your pet:
NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. Even on mild days, the temperature can rise dramatically in mere minutes, putting your pet at risk of serious heat stroke and even death. It’s not worth the risk. Leave them at home in air conditioning or take them out of the car with you.
Pay attention to the heat index, which factors in humidity as well as temperature. High humidity means your dog will have an even harder time cooling themselves, so limit their time outside during particularly humid spells. This is especially important for dogs that are brachycephalic (have flat faces), such as Pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Boxers. They have an elongated soft palate which can make panting more difficult and put them at a higher risk for heatstroke.
If your dog has long hair and/or a black coat, they can also heat up faster, so try to minimize their time under the sun.
Take your walks either earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest times of day.
Stay off hot asphalt and metal plates, as both can get hot enough to burn their paws and even raise their body temperature too quickly.
Whenever outside whether on a walk or at the dog park, make sure your pup has plenty of fresh cool water to drink and shade to rest in if they need to take a break.
In addition to heat safety, it’s important to be aware of parasites as well as diseases that thrive in warmer weather. Meet with your veterinarian to keep your pet’s parasite prevention up to date to keep fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes (which transmit heartworms) at bay. As for diseases, it is always important to keep vaccinations up to date, even for house pets, but more so for those who go on walks often and visit dog parks frequently.
For more information about summer pet safety, call our animal hospital or ask away at your next appointment! We’re always happy to see you stop in for a quick chat, too!