While it's important to protect ourselves from the heat of the summer - it's important not to forget about our furry creatures. I have two mutts (Dublin and Winnie) and they LOVE to tag along wherever I'm headed. Dublin gets more excited about a car ride than a walk. But I know that this time of year is WAY too hot for them to take along.
So below are some sun safety tips for your pets. With temps in the 90's here the last week we take short walks. My dogs are black and immediately get hot to the touch. So we try and take advantage of the early mornings and evenings.
Some additional tips from Dogtagart (www.dogtagart.com link)
Keep your pets hydrated – Pets need more water in the summer to keep their body temperatures regulated. Make sure that their bowls are regularly filled with fresh clean water to keep them cool and properly hydrated during summer play outdoors. If your pets can’t get the refreshment they need from their usual “watering hole” then they might go looking elsewhere and that can mean a potentially dangerous situation. Higher temperatures can accelerate the growth of bacteria in standing water and thirsty pets can also drink hazardous liquids if they are parched.
Be aware of the signs of heatstroke – Sometimes pets get caught up in playing and exploring outdoors in the heat. This blind dedication to summer fun can lead to overheating and eventually heatstroke if owners are not careful. Be on the lookout for sudden changes in behavior and physical traits including lack of obedience, an overly warm body, labored breathing, a distant or worried look, vomiting, and a faster heartbeat. If you notice any of these signs and think your pet might be overheated then you must attempt to lower their core temperature. You can try to aid them by applying towels soaked with cool water or finding a cool spot where they can remain inactive for a little while. If they are still acting as if they are uncomfortable after a little while in a cooler environment then it is best to take the dog to their vet.
Don't leave out uneaten pet food – Your pet’s water bowl is not the only place where accelerated bacteria growth can occur in the hot summer months. If your dog or cat eats their food outside then it is best to not leave uneaten pet food sitting around like leftovers. If your pets are light eaters then it is perfectly fine to bring any remaining food inside where it will not spoil as quickly or be exposed to other animals and the elements.
Remember that fleas and ticks are more active – These little parasites are a problem all year round, but with more outdoor activity taking place in the summer time they become especially troublesome. Have a flea and tick control solution of your choice ready and in place. There are many options available for both cats and dogs. It is also important to routinely check your pet for any ticks that have latched on and remove them using the proper techniques.
Do not leave pets in a vehicle – Hopefully by now, all pet owners are aware of how dangerous this can be. The inside of a car can get as hot as an oven and it only takes a few minutes. Never leave a pet in a parked car, no matter how quick you think you are going to be back. If you are going to run errands at places that do not allow animals then it is probably the best idea just to leave them at home.
Sun block is not just for humans – Long summer days spent playing on the beach or just out in the yard can lead to reddened and irritated skin for your pets. Your dog or cat can get sunburned if they are exposed for hours at a time. This tends to occur more frequently in pets with light hair color or in spots that are not covered in fur. It is important to use sun screen, there are pet brands available, in order to keep your pet from getting an uncomfortable burn and prevent them from getting skin cancer down the road.
Regulate outdoor exposure – On extremely hot days it is sometimes better to just keep your pet inside until it cools off some. Even outside in the shade it can still be very easy for your pet to overheat or dehydrate. Make sure they have a few “inside breaks” to limit their exposure to heat and sun. If your pet just can’t stay inside then make sure you check on them regularly and watch out for signs that they have had a little too much summer fun. Leaving a pet alone outside all day when the temperatures are soaring is never a good idea.