We all look forward to the summer months because it means extra time spent outside with our furry friends. The summer solstice marked the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere last week and we at VetMeasure feel it’s important to have a few reminders of the Do’s and Don’ts to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy in the heat.
The Do’s To Keeping Your Pet Safe
DO: Pack Enough Water
Whether it’s a walk down the street or a run on a trail, it is essential to keep your pet hydrated. Just like humans, our furry friends get thirsty too, and water can help cool them down. However, it is vital to remember the water should be room temperature, not cold.
Also, note key signs of dehydration in your dog:
- Wrinkled or loose skin
- Dry gums
- Excessive panting
- Lack of appetite
DO: Know What Heat Exhaustion Looks Like In Your Pet
A dog’s average body temperature is typically 100°F – 102.5°F. Whereas, heat exhaustion is generally classified as a body temperature over 103°F, with heat stroke being over 106°F. Every dog will have a different capacity to tolerate the heat. The temperatures may vary as it is dependent on their breed, age, and body condition.
DO: Groom Your Dog Appropriately for Their Breed
Most individuals would agree that long hair can be a pain, especially in the summer months. However, for dogs, it is quite the opposite. Long-haired pets are often kept cool and insulated by their hair, so remember to consult a professional before shaving your pet.
DO: Check for Fleas and Ticks
If you take your furry friend adventuring in the woods or even in the yard it is important to check them upon their return for fleas and ticks. If you find any, remove them immediately. You can do this by following directions found here for ticks and here for fleas.
The Don’ts To Keeping Your Pet Safe
Although there are a lot of things you should do with the oncoming heat, it is vital to recognize what you shouldn’t as well.
DON’T: Leave your dog in a hot car
It goes without saying, but vehicles will quickly heat up in the summer, even if parked in the shade with the windows cracked. Therefore, if you are running to the grocery store or other errands, it is best to leave your dog at home. Being left in a hot car can lead to heatstroke, loss of internal organ function, and, unfortunately, even death.
DON’T: Make Your Dog Walk on Hot Asphalt
In the summer, it is essential to be aware of the surface temperature your dog is walking on. Some surfaces, such as asphalt, will absorb more heat than other surfaces, such as grass. Pet owners can check the temperature by placing the back of their hand on the ground for 15 seconds.
Be aware if your dog is prancing, or pulling to the grass – as these could be indications that the sidewalk is painful on their paws.
DON’T: Assume Your Dog Can Swim
Many dogs can swim for short periods; however, swimming takes a lot of energy, so keep an eye on your pet in the water. It is also crucial to fence in your swimming pool, as your dog could easily fall in and drown if they do not have proper supervision.
Summer is fun, but it’s important to remember these tips and tricks to keep your pet safe during this time. Enjoy the weather, go for a walk, and share your summer tips with us on social media by tagging @VetMeasure or using the #VetMeasure. We look forward to seeing what you and your pet do to spend time outdoors.