While there are many states that are warm to hot year round, as we enter July this is the time when we all experience the heat and as days are creeping past 90 degrees man’s best friend, dog or cat, will especially feel the temperature changes which can be at great risk to them.
When you’re hot your body temperature starts to rise, now imagine how much faster your pet’s body temperature will rise with hair and fur. The following tips will help you keep your pet cool and safe for the best pet care this summer whether you're home or on the road.
- Never leave your pet in a closed vehicle. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees. If you must run a quick errand and you have your pet with you, park in a shaded area, make sure your windows are at least half-way down and time yourself because you don’t want to leave them alone for too long. As they are unable to control their body temperatures and you don’t want to have irreversible damage.
- Always have plenty of water on hand. I keep a case of water in my car, but if you’re traveling on foot make sure to bring a bottle for your pet as well as for yourself.
- Avoid strenuous exercise. Take walks in the early morning or evening’s when the sun’s heat is less intense. And for that mid-day walk, keep it quick.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to asphalt or sand as your pets paws could get burned.
- Bring food and as mentioned water. To help avoid digestive symptoms on the road it’s a great idea to bring your pets’ regular food and see if there are convenient travel sizes.
- If your pet has a new short haircut and/or their skin is exposed use sun screen, as they can just easily get burned from the sun. If you’re looking to cool them off with water, start with water under their belly because if you pour it on top the sun’s only going to bring more heat to the top of their bodies.
- Attach names tags to your pet. If your pet already has one make sure the information is up-to-date and readable.
- Bring your pet’s favorite toys and travel on an empty stomach. If you are on a long car ride, feed a smaller than usual amount at least two hours before you leave.
- Pack a first aid kit. It’s always good to have one available just in case.
- If you go to the park, beach or some outside venue, find a shady spot for your pet to rest in. You can even use a mini tent or tarp for protection, if it’s perfect for you, it’ll be perfect for them.
- Before you let your dog go into the ocean water check for jellyfish and sea lice and don’t let your dog drink the seawater, the salt will make him/her sick. And be careful of strong tides.
- If you are shipping your pet, put ice packs or an ice blanket in the their crate. Provide a container of fresh water and it’s also suggested to provide a container of frozen water that will thaw out during the trip. Always check with the airline to make sure they will transport your pet when it's hot, some will not.
- The same can be done for pet's traveling in a crate by car and make sure your air conditioning is working.
- If you are traveling by RV with the generator running, make sure to check all equipment and never leave it completely shut up, as with a care crack a window or door or run the exhaust fan.
- If your pet sheds you may want to purchase seat covers. Some hair is tough to get out.
- If your pet is not used to the water, gradually introduce them to it. Keep flotation devices around in case they get into trouble. More and more pets are doing more than swimming, like their owners they are surfing and boating so you may also want to put a life jacket on them, even if they are experts in the water. It's always better to be safe.
Heatstroke can often be the fatal result of a dog’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat, and most times you won’t realize how fast your dog can show signs of heat stroke.
- Heavy panting.
- Rapid breathing.
- Excessive drooling.
- Bright red gums and tongue.
- Standing , posting or spreading out to maintain balance.
- White or blue gums.
- Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
- Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
- Labored, noisy breathing.
If your dog starts to show signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool him/her down. Ways to do this are:
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog’s paw pads.
- Apply ice packs to the groin.
- Hose down with water.
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
- Let the dog eat ice chips or drink some water
And if this doesn’t seem to reduce their body temperature then take the dog to the veterinarian immediately. Which would be a good thing to do in case anyway.