Now that itís finally feeling like summer outside, itís a good time to help pet owners keep their furry family members safe and cool.
For months, weíve been dreaming about warmer temperatures and sunny days, and theyíre finally here! Thereís not much better than enjoying long, lazy summer days outside with our pets. But, do you know that warm weather poses health and safety risks to our furry companions? Letís see how we can protect our pets during the dog days of summer.
Feeliní hot, hot, hot
When itís hot outside for you, itís even hotter for your animal. Humans are covered in sweat glands, but pets donít sweat the way we do. In fact, dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their feet and their noses, and cats just sweat through their paws. When you think about an animalís feet, you realize thatís not a very large surface area to accomplish a sufficient amount of cooling. So, what can we do to avoid the dangers of too much heatóand, on some days, that may simply mean leaving pets at home?
Keep cool and stay hydrated
We all know pets who like to soak up the sun, but direct sunlight can overheat them. Be sure there are options for shade when your animals (and you!) are lounging out in the yard or supporting their human siblings at soccer games. Just like their owners, animals need to stay hydrated, so use your thirst as a guide. When you want a drink, you can count on your companion wanting one, too. Be sure to bring a collapsible bowl to make water breaks easy when youíre out and about.
Know the signs
Dehydration can cause serious problems for pets. Cats and dogs drink water and pant to bring their body temperature down when it gets higher than normal. Some symptoms of overheating include drooling, heavy panting, vomiting and diarrhea. If your pets show signs of heat exhaustion, bring them to a cool place, get them to drink water and call their veterinarian.
No, no, never, never, ah, ah, ah
Itís never OK to leave your dog in a parked caróeven for a few minutesóduring the summer. When itís 70 degrees out, after 10 minutes inside a car, the temperature rises to 89 degrees, and after 30 minutes, itís a whopping 104 degrees! Not only is it dangerous to leave your pet in a car, but itís also illegal in Colorado. If you see a pet left alone in a car and you think heís in danger, legally you can enter a locked vehicle to help an at-risk animal. Learn more about the hot car immunity law at http://bit.ly/2NLxvs2
Donít get burned
Did you know that pets can get sunburns too, especially ones who have short hair or light-haired coats? Well, they can, and it hurts just like it does when it happens to us. Apply sunscreen to your four-legged companions regularly per the instructions on the package. Remember, human sunscreen isnít safe for animals, so be sure to buy one thatís made specifically for pets.
Skip the summer shave
A petís coat naturally keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so while you may think shaving your dog will help keep them from overheating, thatís not the case. If you do get your pup a summer cut, be sure to leave an inch of hair to help protect their skin from sunburns.
Just because itís summer doesnít mean your pup isnít going to want their routine walkóand thereís no reason to stop. Try and adjust your strolls so that you go earlier or later in day and never in the middle when itís the hottest. Itís always a good idea to bring water, too. Along the walking line, be sure to pay attention and keep your pup off hot surfaces. Their paws can get burned, and since they can absorb heat through their pads, their body temperature can climb. If your enthusiastic walking companion is open to wearing socks/booties, they do serve a great purpose when the terrain is hot.
Donít chew on that
Not much screams summer more than a BBQ but remember that our four-legged friends canít enjoy the experience as we can. Pets should never drink alcohol. Never. Itís also best to stay away from sharing snacks and meals with your friend, so their diet isnít disrupted. Plus, things like onions, raisins and some ingredients, such as chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitolócommonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goodsócan be deadly.
Be water safe
Some dogs can swim, others can learn and then there are those who will never pick up the activity. I know. I know. Based on the doggy paddle swimming style, we assume all dogs inherently know how to do this aquatic activity, but thatís not always the case. No matter your pupís skill level, if youíre near water, they need a brightly-colored canine life jacket to stay afloat in case of an emergency.
Tame the spark
Many of us enjoy the sights and sounds of fireworks, but these displaysóno matter how large or smallómay frighten cats and dogs. When pets panic, they can run away, and, in fact, more dogs are lost on July 4 than any other day of the year. Learn how to keep your pets calm and safe at www.ddfl.org/news/help-your-pets-stay-safe-this-independence-day.
The summer breeze may make you feel fine, but always be aware of your pets, their surroundings and the weather before the fun begins. Have a safe summer from all of us at the Dumb Friends League!