The summer heat can be rough on your pets. Summer means time outdoors, especially for you and your dog(s) and while longer hikes, beach days, and lounging in the sun sound fun, they can pose special risks for our pets. Did you know that cats and dogs can only sweat from the bottom of their paws and from their nose? With such limited places to sweat from, heat builds up and can mean serious problems like heat stroke. Here are some tips to help you keep your pets safe and healthy this summer.
Beat The Heat
Cars can quickly heat up to very harsh temperatures, never leave your pets in the car even if the windows are cracked or “you’ll only be gone for a few minutes” as heat stroke can happen fast.
Be sure your pet always has a place in your home away from the heat, like a room that is air-conditioned or has the shades down with a breeze or fan.
Always have fresh cool water available for your pets.
If you don’t have air conditioning, consider investing in a cooling pad for your pet. Place it on a bed or favorite spot so they can nap on the cool pad.
If your pets spend time outdoors, especially while you are at work, make sure your yard has shady spots so your pet can get out of the sun. A kiddie pool with fresh water for them to cool off in can mean hours of happiness!
Do not shave your dog if they are double-coated. Their fur regulates their body temperature and protects their skin.
Carry a water dish when you go on walks, even if it is a short one.
Avoid walking your dog on hot sidewalks or asphalt during the summer heat as it can burn their paws.
If you walk your dog, exercise them in the morning or evenings when the sun is less harsh. Avoiding strenuous activities on hot days can prevent sunburn as well as heatstroke.
Pets get sunburn too! Pets with short hair, white fur, and pink skin are more prone to sunburn, especially on the nose and ear tips. If you notice your pet’s skin getting irritated or red from being in the sun, consider using a pet-safe sunscreen.
Know the symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke to keep your pets safe! If you see signs of excessive panting (especially in cats), thick saliva, lethargy, or sunken eyes your pet may be in danger. Water may not be enough so keeping an electrolyte product on hand is a smart idea (consult your veterinarian for suggestions and dosage). If water and electrolytes don’t alleviate symptoms or you don’t know how long symptoms have been going on, you may need to take your animal to the vet.
Cool Pet Treats
Cats and dogs alike will enjoy some ice cubes floating in their water dish to help stay cool.
Want to really spoil your pets? Make them pet-safe summer treats:
Dog Ice Cream Recipe:
- 1 large container of plain non-fat yogurt
- 1 ripe banana
- 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
- Use a blender to mix
- Pour into a cupcake tin
- Freeze until solid
- Remove from pan and store treats in a freezer bag and keep frozen (usually makes 24 individual treats)
Frozen Tuna Treats For Cats
- can of water-packed tuna
- 1/2 cup water
- In a blender, blend tuna and water until pureed
- Scoop into ice cube tray and freeze until solid
- Transfer to a ziplock freezer bag and keep frozen
Our pets are a big part of our lives and we want them to enjoy the summer too! We hope the tips we provided will help you and your pet enjoy a safe and FUN summer!
Co-Author: Bailey Aines, part-time NeighborWorks of Western Vermont employee