Summertime is perfect for you and your four-legged, furry friend to experience outdoor adventures. However, high temperatures and humidity levels can quickly affect your pet, and lead to heatstroke. To prevent your furry pal’s heat-related injury, follow our Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Conroe veterinary professionals’ tips for helping your pet beat the heat.
#1: Exercise with your pet during the day’s coolest times
Afternoon and early evening are often the day’s hottest and most humid times, so exercise with your pet in the early morning, before the temperature has risen to its highest level. Keep in mind that asphalt surfaces can become dangerously hot before the day’s heat is at its highest. If you are unable to leave the back of your hand on the surface for 10 seconds, exercise your pet on grassy paths or at local parks or nature preserves.
#2: Let your pet safely play in the water
If your pet is not a natural swimmer, you can help them safely enjoy water play. Let them splash around in a small wading pool filled with a couple of inches of water, and add in a few favorite water toys for extra enjoyment.
If your pet is adept at swimming in your pool, toss in a few treats, and watch them eagerly paddle down to the bottom and gobble up the prizes. After your pet has had enough swimming pool time, remember to rinse off their fur to remove all the chlorine, which prevents them from ingesting the chemical through grooming.
#3: Serve your pet cool treats
Nothing cools you off better on a hot summer day than an ice cream treat. However, many pets are dairy sensitive, and all that sugar and fat can upset their stomach. Your pet may especially enjoy these safe and healthy cool treats:
- Ice cubes they can swat around the floor
- Ice cubes filled with tiny tuna chunks they can lick
- A Kong filled with frozen canned food or yogurt
#4: Encourage your pet to drink more water during the summer
During the summer heat, encourage your pet to increase their water intake to help keep them cool and hydrated. Remember to change out the water in your pet’s bowl several times a day for maximum freshness, or bring home a water fountain as an entertaining way to encourage them to drink more. And, although your dog may love drinking out of the chilled porcelain throne, close the toilet lid to prevent accidental toxin ingestion.
#5: Leave your pet home when running errands
Although your pooch may love riding in the car, their ears flapping in the wind, leave them home when you run errands during the blazing hot summer. A car parked in the shade with the windows down can heat up to dangerous levels in minutes, leaving your pet with no way to get relief. Occupy your furry pal with a treat in your air-conditioned home while you run errands—they will be much happier and safer.
#6: Give your pet an appropriate summertime haircut
Your pet’s thick fur insulates them from high temperatures and protects them from sunburn, so avoid shaving your pet down to the skin. Feel free to trim your pet’s long fur if needed, but leave at least an inch or more to maintain the fur’s cooling effect.
In addition, regularly brush your pet to remove dead hair. Large, loose fur clumps can mat and trap heat, so brush them away to help keep your pet cool.
#7: Know pets’ heatstroke signs
At times, your efforts to keep your pet cool may be ineffective, and they can become overheated. At the first hint of heatstroke, bring your pet indoors, place them in a cool—not cold—bath, and in front of a fan. Heatstroke signs include:
- Heavy panting
- Thick, ropey drool
- Labored breathing
- Bright red gums
- Difficulty walking
- Vomiting and diarrhea
While all pets are at risk for developing heatstroke, brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced) breeds and pets with respiratory or cardiac conditions are more susceptible to overheating. In addition, obese and very young or old pets have difficulty regulating their body temperature, and are at a high risk of developing heatstroke.
If your pet struggles to beat the heat, follow our summer safety tips, and keep our Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Conroe phone number handy. Do not hesitate to give us a call if your furry pal becomes overheated.
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