Do you know how to keep your pet safe when the weather heats up? Like most people, you’re likely careful to never leave pets in vehicles when it’s hot outside. But there’s more to know when it comes to keeping pets cool, comfortable, and out of danger.
Dogs are generally at highest risk. When it’s hot, cats prefer to chill. Your dog, on the other hand, will try to go for a run or play fetch no matter the temperature. That means you must avoid hazardous situations and know what to do if your pet overheats. Some tips:
- Keep the most at-risk pets inside and keep the air conditioning on for them. Older pets as well as kittens or puppies don’t handle weather extremes as well as healthy adult pets. In addition, dogs or cats of breeds known as “brachycephalic” – short-nosed pets such as bulldogs, pugs or Persian cats – have a greater difficulty keeping themselves from overheating. These high-risk pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, and any outings should be short – potty runs only.
- Exercise your dog during cooler parts of the day. While short-nosed pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, other pets can enjoy supervised outdoor time early mornings or late in the day. Walks are good for both dogs and people, and you don’t have to skip them, just time them better. One rule of thumb: Put your hand on the sidewalk, and if it’s too hot to leave it there, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
- Know the signs of overheating – and what to do if a pet gets too hot. Just as important as keeping pets out of heat danger is knowing what to do if a pet overheats. The signs in dogs – the most likely victims — are rapid, even frantic panting, very red gums, and a glassy look to their eyes. An overheated dog is in a life-threatening situation: Apply cool water – not icy cold, and not ice – to the groin area and get your pet to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital right away.
Whatever your summer activities, make sure there’s plenty of cool, fresh water available for your pets. When you’re out and about, take water with you and don’t let pets drink from pools, standing water or oceans. There are handy devices you can buy from pet product retailers to make it easy to bring water along. Products that have flip-down cups or nozzles mean you don’t have to carry a bowl with you.
Was the warning on leaving pets in vehicles is a new one for you? If so, you need to know this is a dangerous practice even on days that are merely warm, not hot. Even with the windows of your car cracked open, the temperature inside can build to a deadly level within minutes. If you’ll have to park your car for any length of time, leave your pet at home.
It doesn’t take much to keep your pets safe in the summer. Knowing how to protect your pet will allow you both to enjoy the warm summer days. In addition, the right pet insurance coverage can help you in the event of the unexpected.
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