These days, particularly with the extended time everyone is spending at home, we’ve been able to spend more time than ever with our pets. As a result, our pets often benefit by getting a lot more walks, ball tosses and fetching sessions. While that is great exercise and lots of fun for our pets, we need to remember to take extra care of and constantly monitor their wellbeing to keep them safe, particularly during these hot summer months.
It is important to remember that our pets do not handle these warmer temperatures the same way we as humans do. When the heat and humidity start to rise, veterinarians see an increase in emergency cases of heat stroke which can range from mild, to life-threatening, to fatal.
Unlike humans who sweat throughout our entire body to dissipate heat, dogs can only sweat from their pads on their feet and by panting. But panting becomes inefficient in extreme heat, during physical exertion, when the dog is dehydrated, when there’s insufficient ventilation, or even a combination of these factors. Within minutes, a dog can become overheated which can lead to heat exhaustion, heatstroke, kidney failure, and brain damage.
So extra vigilance to ensure our pet’s safety is needed during times of extreme heat and/or humidity. Besides monitoring how you pet is handling the heat, when walking your dog try to be mindful of ground surfaces like asphalt, sand and metal which absorb heat from the sun and can become so hot they can burn the sensitive pads. If you think these surfaces might be too hot, guide your dog to the grass or avoid these areas until they cool down. Always better safe than sorry.
As you spend time outdoors, here are some additional tips to keep both you and your beloved pet safe during the hot days of summer:
- Keep yourself and your dog hydrated with fresh, cool water. Carry a water bottle or portable water bowl if possible.
- Ask your vet if you should trim your dog’s hair shorter than usual for the summer.
- Take frequent breaks and do not play too hard during times of excessive heat.
- Make certain your pet is in an area which has good air flow, with a fan or air conditioning when possible.
- Decrease your activity overall and avoid the hottest parts of the day. On extremely hot days, its best to stay inside during peak heat times.
- Never leave your dog in the car on hot days.
It is a wonderful blessing to be able to spend so much quality time with our pets and we all know how much they enjoy all their play time. Have fun, be safe and please make sure to protect the wellbeing of your pet.
Please Stay Safe & Be Healthy!