Spring is officially here, and that means that summer is just around the corner. Temperatures are already starting to rise, and they’ll only go up from here. While hot weather means lots of opportunities to visit the beach, host BBQs, and go for a swim, it can also mean trouble for pets. Heatstroke is a very serious and potentially deadly condition that can be fatal even with emergency treatment. So how can you avoid this terrible situation? Check out these tips for keeping your pet cool in hot weather.
1. Limit Exercise and Go Out In The Morning Or Evening
If it’s shaping up to be a hot day, adjust the duration and intensity of your pet’s exercise. If you usually take your dog out for a half an hour jog, perhaps go for a 15 minute walk instead (and bring water along). You can also keep your pal cool by going out in the early morning or late evening; you’ll avoid high midday temperatures and hot asphalt and concrete (which can burn paws). If you have the option, walk on grass or a dirt path instead.
Be extra careful with light-colored pets who may be susceptible to sunburn (consider using sunscreen) and pets with shorts muzzles (like pugs and bulldogs) who may have trouble breathing in the heat and humidity.
2. Never Leave Your Pet Inside A Parked Car
The inside of a parked car can get incredibly hot on a warm day, and leaving your pet in the car — even for a minute, even with the windows cracked, even with the air conditioning on — can be deadly. If you ever see a pet inside of a parked car, call your local animal shelter or the police immediately.
RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog
3. Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Make sure that your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water at all times. Bring water with you on outings, and leave enough to last if you need to be out of the house (and make sure that your pet won’t be able to knock it over). Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, including dry mouth, panting, lethargy, loss of appetite, sunken eyes, and decreased skin elasticity. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your pet is suffering from dehydration.
4. Tricks and Tips For Cooling Down
If you feel the weather heating up, try some of these tricks and tips for cooling your pet down:
- Cool your pet from the inside out by giving them an ice cube as a treat.
- For another icy treat, try this DIY peanut butter popsicle recipe.
- Set up a kiddie pool in the shade outside and let your pet take a dip.
- Use a cooling mat, wrap, or vest. You can even make a cooling vest at home — check out this DIY instructable.
- Put a cold, wet towel on the ground and invite your pet to lie down on top of it.
- Gently spray your pet with water, especially the paws and stomach.
5. Look Out For Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke can strike any pet when the weather is hot, but some pets are especially at risk, including those who are very young, very old, overweight, have a heart or respiratory disease, or have a shortened muzzle that makes breathing more difficult.
RELATED STORY: Brachycephalic Dog Breeds
Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy, increased heart rate, fever, lack of coordination/dizziness, excessive drooling, vomiting, a dark red or purple tongue, seizure, and collapse.
If you see any signs of heatstroke, take your pet to the veterinarian right away.
Have any other tips for keeping your pet cool? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, boarding, supplies, and more.