Summertime in Central Kentucky is a perfect time for pet owners. You’re able to walk, run, play, and swim outside more than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, summer also poses threats to our four-legged friends. As the temperatures rise it is important to keep your pet(s) comfortable and healthy.
Here are a few summertime dangers for pets and tips for protecting them.
- How would you like to be wearing a thick fur coat during the summer? That’s exactly what it feels like for our canine and feline companions. If your pet gets too warm, the threat of heat stroke is great. Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously high. It can be deadly to your pet, but it is easily avoidable. It is most common when dogs are left in a car for too long, or when they exercise in the heat. Symptoms of heat stroke include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. Breeds with shorter noses (such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Bulldogs and Boxers) as well as very young and senior dogs are especially vulnerable. Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, and always remember that a cracked window is not enough to cool a car. Your dog always needs access to shade outside. In addition to heatstroke, animals with shorter hair are also at risk for sunburn when left out in the sun. If you are outside in the sun with your pet, consider buying pet sunscreen.
- Water tends to evaporate very quickly when it’s warm outside, so one bowl of water may not be enough for your pet. Make sure there is access to plenty of cold water if your dog is outside. Consider adding additional bowls in cooler spots of the house to ensure your pet stays hydrated. Ice cubes and frozen chicken broth can encourage them to drink more fluids and help keep them cool. You can also feed your pet wet food to increase their fluid intake.
- Unlike humans, pets have no protection on their feet against hot sidewalks, patios, streets, and sand. The delicate skin on the pads of their paws can burn very easily. Walk your pet in the early morning or at night when the ground surfaces are much cooler. A good way to test if it’s too hot for your pup is to press your hand to the ground for 30 seconds. If it’s painful to you, it will be painful for your dog.
- One of the best ways to save money is by turning down your air conditioning when you leave for work. However, we sometimes forget that our pets are left at home in the uncomfortable heat. Unless you can leave your pet in a cool/shady place for the entire day, you should consider leaving the air conditioner on at a reasonable temperature. If this just isn’t feasible, you can help reduce the temperature in the house by keeping the curtains and window shades closed. Another option is leaving a fan on that they can lie near. If your pets are anything like mine, lying in front of the fan will be their favorite spot in the whole house (besides the couch)!
- It’s no secret that many dogs love to swim. Swimming is a great exercise for dogs of all ages and can even prevent heat stroke. If you have a pool in your yard and a pooch who likes to take an occasional dip, ensure that swim time is always supervised. Teach them to only go in the pool when you say it’s okay to avoid them jumping in when you aren’t looking. Be sure to teach your dog how to exit the pool safely or an unsupervised dip could end in tragedy.
Follow these handy tips to ensure that this summer is a safe and healthy one for you and your pets!