5 Ways To Keep Your Pet Cool In Hot Weather

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.

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7 Easy Ways To Prepare Your Pet For Spring

It’s officially spring, and soon we’ll see higher temperatures and plenty of chances to take our pets outside for some fun in the sun. As nice as that sounds, warm weather and outdoor activities also present certain dangers to our pets, like increased risk of heartworm disease and seasonal allergies. The good news is that we can protect our pals. Read on to learn how.

1. Get Your Pet On A Heartworm Preventative

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. If you’re thinking: “I don’t see many mosquitos where I live, so I don’t need to worry,” think again. The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected. Get your pet on a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment, before letting them loose in the yard.

RELATED STORY: How Do Dogs and Cats Get Heartworm Disease?

2. Prepare Your Pet From Fleas and Ticks

Mosquitos aren’t the only pests you need to watch out for in the spring; fleas and ticks also come back in full force. While fleas and ticks can be picked up any time of year, your pet is more likely to come into contact with them if they are out romping in the grass, hiking with you, or playing at the dog park. Fleas and ticks not only irritate your pet, they can also carry disease and cause serious health problems. Protect your pet with an oral or topical treatment and/or collar.

3. Stay Cool

When temperatures climb, so too does the risk of your pet overheating. On warmer days, you may want to walk your pet in the morning or evening to avoid high midday temperatures, and if you have the option, choose a grass or dirt path over hot asphalt; your pet’s paws will thank you. Be sure to bring water for your pal on long walks or hikes, and look out for signs of heatstroke, like excessive panting, staggering, and high body temperature. Heatstroke can be deadly, so take your pet to the veterinarian right away if you see symptoms.

4. Prepare your Pet For Seasonal Allergies

Pets can suffer from seasonal allergies in much the same way that people do, having particular sensitives to grass, pollens, flowers, or plants. If you notice your pet itching, scratching, or sneezing after playing outside, they might be having an allergic reaction. Contact your veterinarian; after testing your pet they may prescribe an antihistamine and/or suggest more frequent baths.

RELATED STORY: Know Your Options: Allergy Meds For Dogs

5. Beware of Poisons

Certain foods, plants, and rodenticides/insecticides are poisonous to pets, and you should be aware so that you can keep your pet safe when BBQing or hanging out in the yard. The most poisonous foods for pets are garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, apricots, caffeine, chocolate, gum, alcohol, and salt. There are many toxic plants, so check this list and then check your yard.

6. Steer Clear of Foxtails

Foxtails are grass-like weeds that show up between May and December in most of the US, but especially in the West. If your pet comes into contact with a foxtail, it can become easily embedded in their feet, ears, eyes, nose, or skin due to its sharp point and tiny barbs. Foxtails are not only uncomfortable for your pet and tricky to remove, they can also cause swelling, pain, abscesses, and even death if they are absorbed into your pet’s body and make their way to the lungs, brain, or spine. Protect your pet by learning the species of foxtail native to your region and avoiding overgrown areas. You should also brush your pet out and inspect them for foxtails every time they come in from outside.

7. Time To Microchip

More time spent outside means more chances for your pet to sneak off or get lost. You should always keep an eye on your friend, but if they do happen to escape your sight, a microchip is a great way to get them back. A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that contains a unique ID number. After the microchip is injected into your pet, you will register online using the ID number, and if the pet is ever returned to a shelter or vet’s office, a quick scan will reveal their information. Used in combination, a collar ID tag and microchip offer the best chance for getting your pet home safely. If you plan to purchase any medications for your pet this spring — including heartworm preventatives, flea and tick treatments, or allergy medications — consider signing up for PetPlus. You could save up to 75%, and ordering is a breeze. 

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