Beat the heat: keeping your pets healthy and happy in the summertime

By Katelyn Doggett

It’s easy to beat the summer heat by turning on a fan or drinking some water, but don’t forget about your pets who rely on you to stay healthy in the hot weather.

If you have a dog or a cat, it’s important to take special measures to keep your pet cool in the summer months, otherwise long-term or fatal health problems could occur.

Don’t leave pets in the car

Leaving your pet in a hot car, if even for a short time, can be deadly. According to the Humane Society of the United States, rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car. On a 72° Fahrenheit day, the temperature inside a car can rise to 116° within an hour.

Stay cool and hydrated 

Pets need extra water when it’s hot outdoors, so make sure it’s fresh and easily available for them to drink. If possible, add ice cubes. Fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people, so make sure your pet has access to plenty of shade. A doghouse does not provide relief from the heat, but instead makes the heat worse, according to the Humane Society. If possible, keep your pet indoors during very hot weather and use cooling body wraps, vests or mats that stay cool for up to three days after being soaked in cold water.

Limit exercise

On hot days, take your dog for a walk in the early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler, according to the Humane Society. If out for a walk, bring water so your dog doesn’t get dehydrated and try to avoid hot asphalt, which can burn your dog’s paws.

Careful grooming

A dog’s coat helps protect them from sunburn and overheating, so never shave your dog. Trimming its fur is fine. Brushing your cat more often helps to prevent problems associated with excessive heat.

Watch for heatstroke

In hot weather it’s important to watch for signs of heatstroke in your pet. Signs include heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination and excessive thirst, according to the Humane Society.

If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, make sure it’s in a shaded, air-conditioned area and apply ice packs or cold towels to its head, neck and chest. Give your pet water and let it lick ice cubes. If symptoms worsen or persist, take your pet to the veterinarian.

For more tips on how to keep your pet cool in the heat, visit the Humane Society’s website at humanesociety.org.

It’s easy to beat the summer heat by turning on a fan or drinking some water, but don’t forget about your pets who rely on you to stay healthy in the hot weather.

If you have a dog or a cat, it’s important to take special measures to keep your pet cool in the summer months, otherwise long-term or fatal health problems could occur.

Don’t leave pets in the car

Leaving your pet in a hot car, if even for a short time, can be deadly. According to the Humane Society of the United States, rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car. On a 72° Fahrenheit day, the temperature inside a car can rise to 116° within an hour.

Stay cool and hydrated 

Pets need extra water when it’s hot outdoors, so make sure it’s fresh and easily available for them to drink. If possible, add ice cubes. Fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people, so make sure your pet has access to plenty of shade. A doghouse does not provide relief from the heat, but instead makes the heat worse, according to the Humane Society. If possible, keep your pet indoors during very hot weather and use cooling body wraps, vests or mats that stay cool for up to three days after being soaked in cold water.

Limit exercise

On hot days, take your dog for a walk in the early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler, according to the Humane Society. If out for a walk, bring water so your dog doesn’t get dehydrated and try to avoid hot asphalt, which can burn your dog’s paws.

Careful grooming

A dog’s coat helps protect them from sunburn and overheating, so never shave your dog. Trimming its fur is fine. Brushing your cat more often helps to prevent problems associated with excessive heat.

Watch for heatstroke

In hot weather it’s important to watch for signs of heatstroke in your pet. Signs include heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination and excessive thirst, according to the Humane Society.

If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, make sure it’s in a shaded, air-conditioned area and apply ice packs or cold towels to its head, neck and chest. Give your pet water and let it lick ice cubes. If symptoms worsen or persist, take your pet to the veterinarian.

For more tips on how to keep your pet cool in the heat, visit the Humane Society’s website at humanesociety.org.

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