Pets do not handle hot weather in the same way as humans. When we are hot, we sweat to release heat; dogs hang their tongues out of their mouths. As a result, pets do not have as easy of a time cooling off and need our protection and care to stay safe in the heat.
Follow these Safety Pet tips to help your family stay cool and safe this summer:
Never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm day (let alone a hot day)
Social and news media have been doing a good job of exposing the dangers of leaving your pet in a parked car on a warm day, even with the windows cracked. Despite these warnings, however, pets die every year from overheating in cars. Please, never leave your pet in a car on a warm or hot day.
Provide an annual well check
Your pet is particularly susceptible to heartworms, fleas and ticks in the warm weather so when warm season is approaching take your pet in to the vet for a physical well check.
Be conscious of the time of day you walk your dog
The full strength of the sun is at noon so the best time of day to walk your dog is first thing in the morning or in the evening. If it’s warm even in those times of day you should watch for signs that your pet is overheating: glassy eyes and frantic panting mean trouble. If you see these symptoms take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
Keep your home as cool as reasonably possible when you are out
If you have air conditioning, keep it on a low level throughout the day such as 76 degrees. This way your pet won’t overheat but your bill won’t be out of control. If you do not have air conditioning, keep a couple of windows cracked with dowels for safety and keep as many fans running as possible. Always leave sufficient water and consider closing curtains on windows that face the sun while you are out.
When outside, bring plenty of water and provide access to shade
Pets can get dehydrated or experience heatstroke much more quickly than humans. When taking your pet outside on a hot day it is important to have plenty of water and access to shade. Take frequent rests if out for a hike or walk and watch for signs of overheating and dehydration.
Know your breed
Some dog breeds are less tolerant to heat than others including Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s, and French Bulldogs. Other factors such as the age, weight, and health of a dog can also affect tolerance to heat; puppies, elderly dogs, obese dogs and those with health conditions need extra diligence on the part of their owners.
Remember that our pets are relying on us to take care of them and that if you are hot, dehydrated or experiencing heat stroke your pet is definitely suffering too.
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