Help Your Pets Beat the Heat with These 7 Tips

August 4th, 2016 by Daniel Mudrick

We are having a HOT summer this year in southern Ontario, with heat alerts every other day and lots of humidity. All around the world, we have been shattering heat records this year.

With all this hot weather, it’s so important to keep summer safety in mind as we play outside with our families and pets. Taking a few precautions, we can enjoy ourselves without danger from the heat!

Here are 7 important summer pet safety tips to remember:

1. Keep Your Pet Hydrated

Just like with humans, hydration is very important for your furry friend when the weather is muggy and hot. Your body cannot cool down with heat and humidity. Make sure your pet has lots of water to drink in the hot temperatures – especially if they are outside! A constant supply of cool, fresh water is best, even during dog walks and play.

2. Don’t Leave Pets (or Children) Inside Hot Cars

You’ve heard this before, but it really is incredibly necessary to repeat: never ever leave a pet or a child in a parked car for any amount of time in the summer. It gets REALLY hot in there and can lead to heat stroke or death.

How hot does it get? 3 years ago a Toronto Cop baked cookies in his hot parked car. That is no condition you want to leave a living creature in, even for “just 5 minutes while you run in”.

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3. Make Sure Your Pet Has Access to Shade

Ensure your pet can reach shade if they are outside, whether in the backyard or sitting down for a picnic with you in the park.

4. Take Your Dog on Walks/Let Your Cats Out in Early Morning or Late Evening

When you take your dog for walks, or you have an indoor/outdoor cat (although we recommend keeping cats indoors), try to time their outside excursions for the parts of the day when the heat is less severe. Early morning or late evening are ideal times for getting in their daily exercise in this heat!  If your dog does not want to walk, don’t go.  If your dog wants to go farther than you feel is right, don’t go.

5. Strongly Consider Clipping Down Long Haired Dogs

This is especially true for breeds like Golden Retrievers. Hot humid weather together with allergy season commonly leads to skin inflammation and infections.

Clipping the coat for the summer has proven to be very effective in preventing these “hot spots”.

Cat Hydrated6. Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Here are the symptoms to look out for on hot days:

  • Extremely heavy panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Glazed eyes
  • High heart rate
  • Drooling
  • Excessively thirsty
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Poor coordination
  • Dark red or purple tongue
  • Seizures
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

While any pet can get heat exhaustion, certain pets are more susceptible than others. Pets who are overweight, elderly, or have heart or lung disease are especially at risk. Also pet breeds with flat faces, such as pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, or Persian cats, cannot pant to cool themselves as well as other breeds, and are therefore also at greater risk.

7. Just Be Smart!

Use common sense! Dogs and cats are mammals just like us – most things that humans have to worry about in the summer are also concerns for pets.

How to Treat a Pet with Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion

If your pet is outside in the heat too long and they come down with heat stroke or exhaustion, act quickly!

Immediately go to your nearest emergency veterinary hospital! If there are a few minutes before you can get your pet into the car, put your pet in the shade or in the air-conditioning. Run cool (not freezing cold) water over them and let them drink small amount of water.

Following these 7 tips for pet safety in the heat, you and your pet can enjoy the warm weather and get the most out of your summer!

Call us now for emergency care at 905-855-2100. We are here 24/7, every day of the year with a vet always on-site (never just “on call”).

Help get your cat in the carrier and to the vet without anxiety. Get our free tip sheet on stress-free cat travel.

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About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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