While Minnesota may not exactly be known for its sweltering temperatures, we get our fair share of hot days in the summer. At The Bluffs Pet Clinic we often see pets who have problems related to the warm weather, and many of them are preventable when we are aware of the risk. Beat the heat this summer with our pet heat safety tips.
As the temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat exhaustion in our pets. Just like people, sustained increases in body temperature can have serious and even fatal consequences.
Even in less intense heat, our pets are more prone to overheating than we are. Be sure to monitor closely for signs that your pet is becoming distressed.
Early symptoms of heat exhaustion can include panting, restlessness, increased breathing rate, decreased activity level, drooling, and vomiting or diarrhea.
If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, it is time to head indoors. If ignored, heat exhaustion can progress to weakness, incoordination, seizures, coma, and even death. If you are worried about heat stroke in your pet, it is an emergency.
Help your pet keep cool by:
- Avoiding leaving your pet in the car, even with the windows down or for a seemingly short time
- Provide plenty of shade and fresh when you are outdoors
- Offer fresh, cool water often
- Try to spend time outdoors during the cooler parts of the day
- Providing a small wading pool or other source of water can help your pet beat the heat when supervised
- Always monitor your pet’s activity levels while outside
The sun is a powerful force, and an important part of pet heat safety is preventing burns.
Hot surfaces prevent a unique challenge for our canine friends. While we typically wear shoes while outdoors, our pets do not. Remember that if you can’t hold your hand to a surface for at least ten seconds, it is too hot for your pooch to walk on. Surfaces such as asphalt, sand, pavement, and even packed dirt can result in paw pad burns.
Our pets are susceptible to sunburns as well, particularly if they have a shorter hair coat or are light in color. The ear tips, nose, lips, and underbelly tend to be most susceptible. Try to avoid the times of the day when the sun is most intense or look for a pet-specific sunscreen or pet clothes with SPF.
Pet Heat Safety for Special Pets
Some pets are more susceptible to the summer heat than others. In particular use extra caution for animals who are:
- Very old
- Very young
- Have other health concerns
- Brachycephalic (breeds with a short nose such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus)
These animals are unable to cool themselves efficiently and may find themselves in trouble more quickly than others. No matter what type of pet you have, leaving them unattended in the heat is never a good idea.
Keeping yourself and your pets cool this summer is key to having a great time. Don’t hesitate to call us, though, if you find yourself in trouble with the summer heat.