The summer months are a busy time for dog owners with summer vacations. Now that the hot weather is coming, don’t forget these hot weather safety tips. For outside dogs, make sure they have plenty of shade. Make sure they have access to plenty of cool water. If your dog travels with you, bring along water in a gallon container and a bowl. Never leave your dog in a vehicle on a hot day. Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can exceed 120 degrees. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Condition and train your dog in the early mornings or evenings, when the heat is less intense. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months. Keep dogs off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours. Mosquitoes, which carry heart worm disease, along with fleas and ticks, are more prevalent in warmer months.
Chlorine from pools and bacteria from streams, lakes, and ponds can be toxic for a dog’s system. Always rinse your dog after swimming to remove the chlorine. Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Delta will only allow pets to fly when the temperature is under 85f for all legs of the trip. Check with your airlines for specific rules and be sure to only ship in airline approved shipping crates.
Summertime is a time for fun and frolicking but it’s also fraught with danger for our pets. When the temperature rises, we need to take extra caution to make sure our pets are okay in the heat. Here are some key tips to help keep your pet cool and safe.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN THE CAR ON A WARM DAY
Despite the warnings, every year, pets die after their owners leave them in a parked car that overheats. Within just a few minutes, a car can get extremely shot, stifling, and deadly. Dr. Ernie Ward did an experiment on a warm summer’s day in which he sat in a parked car with the windows cracked. He wanted to see just how hot it would get. Within 30 minutes it was 117 degrees inside the car. “Never, ever leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day,” he pleads at the end of the video he made to document his experience. That goes for any pet, by the way!
BE VIGILANT ABOUT VET CARE
When it starts getting warm outside, take your dog or cat to the vet for a full check up. The check up should include a heartworm test and a flea and tick protection plan. These are year-round issues but in the summer months, with much more outdoors time, it’s especially important to monitor them.
AVOID WALKING YOUR DOG IN THE HEAT
Aim for mornings and evenings when letting your dog outside, cautions Dr. Marty Becker in his article, “Beat the Heat Tips for Your Dog.” Sometimes, though, it’s just hot all day long and Dr. Becker says, “Even in the coolest part of the day, watch for signs of trouble: Glassy eyes and frantic panting indicate a dog who needs help. Get to a veterinarian immediately if you see these symptoms!”
KEEP YOUR HOME COOL FOR YOUR PETS
When the temperature outside gets hot, it can be harder to keep the indoors cool. Some people turn their air conditioning off when they leave for the day. If you have a pet at home, this could put him in danger. A Vetstreet.com article, “Summer Hazards and Your Dog,” advises: “Instead of turning off the air conditioner, try leaving it on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps 76°F) while you are out.” The article recommends you make sure your pet has water and, “consider closing curtains to reduce the heating effects of sunlight through the windows.”
GIVE YOUR PETS ACCESS TO SHADE AND PLENTY OF WATER
Pets can get dehydrated or get heatstroke quickly so any pet outside needs to have plenty of water and access to shade.
KNOW WHICH DOGS ARE LESS TOLERANT OF HEAT
Dr. Becker reminds us that some dog breeds are less tolerant of the heat than others. “Remember that older, obese or short-nosed dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs) are less tolerant of heat.” Also, older dogs, puppies and dogs with health issues can also be more susceptible to hot weather. Of course, you should keep a close eye on your dog in the heat, no matter what his breed, age or state of health.
Our pets rely on us to protect them and keep them comfortable and safe year round! Remember, if you’re hot, your pets are definitely hot.