Too Hot to Trot: Summer Pet Safety 101
The dog days of summer are in full swing, and here in Cameron Park that means plenty of heat, sun, haze (and perhaps a strong urge to nap during the hottest part of the day). As the season progresses and temperatures continue to rise, it’s important for pet owners to take the well-being of their pets into consideration, when it comes to summertime hazards such as heat stroke, dehydration, and noise-related anxiety.
Being aware of the risks and planning ahead are the keys to enjoying some fun in the sun with our pets. Whether you are at home or on the go, keep our summer pet safety tips in mind.
The Dangers of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is generally defined as a life-threatening elevation in body temperature and most commonly occurs in hot weather. Look for these symptoms as indicators that your pet is getting too warm:
- Elevated body temperature (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Excessive panting/drooling
- Pale or bright red gums
- Thick, sticky saliva
- Loss of coordination
Heat stroke can lead to multiple organ failure or death, if left untreated, so time is of the essence. Move them to a shady/cool environment immediately and drape wet, room temperature towels over them and offer water to drink before calling us for further instruction.
Summer Pet Safety
Protecting our pets from becoming overheated is an important part of summer pet safety.
- Outsmart the sun – Limit outdoor exercise to early morning and evening hours, when the temperatures are cooler.
- Stay hydrated – Keeping pets from becoming overheated or dehydrated can be fun! Drop a few ice cubes in their water bowl, or offer a small bites of frozen fruit for a cool treat. Filling up a kiddie pool or turning on the sprinkler is another great way for pets and people to cool off.
- Protect the paws – Your pet’s paw pads are more sensitive than they look, and can be scalded by hot concrete, asphalt, dirt, or sand. Take Fido for a stroll through a grassy park or wooded area whenever possible.
- Car safety – Leaving a pet in a parked vehicle is the number one cause of heat related deaths every summer. The temperature inside a parked car can skyrocket to deadly levels, even on mildly warm days, with the car is in the shade, or with the windows cracked. The safest place for your pet on summer days is at home.
The sounds of summer, namely thunderstorms and fireworks, can throw even the calmest pet into a panic. Anxiety triggers physical responses in animals that can be damaging to their health, especially when occurring frequently. We can’t explain to our pets that the noises they’re hearing aren’t dangerous, but we can find ways to keep them calm and safe:
- Don’t leave anxious pets alone during a thunderstorm or fireworks display. Bring outdoor pets inside and stay nearby to provide reassurance.
- Keep doors and windows closed to prevent your pet from escaping.
- Muffle the noise by playing the radio or TV, or using a fan to create white noise.
- Consider using a Thundershirt or another pressure-based anxiety product.
- Don’t bring pets to a fireworks display, as the noise, crowds, and confusion can be overwhelming to even the calmest of pets.