Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Dog Days of Summer

The temperatures might be milder

at the moment, but summer isn’t done with us yet. That also means that summer isn’t done with your pet. The issues that come with summer weather – such as heat and storms – are even more critical for your four-legged family members.

Here are some things to keep in mind to keep your pets safe and healthy during the dog days of summer.

Cars Can Quickly Become Ovens

Sure, your dog loves riding in the car with you. And you’re just running into that store for a few minutes. But did you know that it can be as much as 20 degrees hotter inside your car than it is outside? And that on an 85 degree day it can reach 102 degrees in just ten minutes? Even if you crack the windows, your car can become dangerously hot for your pet.

“Anything over 70 degrees or in the sun and your car can become an oven,” said Dean Daubert, Chief Operations Officer at Anderson Humane, adding that if others see your pet alone in your car, “they will break windows and the police will be called.” That’s because many local governments have laws against leaving an animal alone in a car during dangerous conditions. Avoid legal trouble and any damage to your car – and, most importantly, your pet – by leaving Rover at home.

Your Pets Are Barefoot

Just like your car, asphalt and pavement can get dangerously hot quicker than you might realize. Dean offered a good rule of thumb when it comes to your pet’s paws: “If it’s too hot for you to walk on in bare feet, it’s too hot for them.”

Dark asphalt that’s been in the sun all day also traps heat. Your dog’s body is much closer to the ground, and to that dangerous heat source when summer sun and heat are at their peak. Keep walks short or on the grass on those especially hot days.

Dogs Can Get Heatstroke

When you’re outside playing fetch with your dog in the summer, he doesn’t stop when he starts to get too hot. He’s just happy to be playing with his person! So, it’s up to you to pace outdoor time and to keep an eye out for signs of overheating, which is more likely to affect young, overweight, or older animals.

Dean says it’s important to know the signs of heat stroke. “Those include excessive panting, an elevated heart rate, bright red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, or seizure,” he said. If you see these symptoms, take your pet to the emergency veterinarian.

Hydration is Vital

We all need more water in the heat of summer, our pets included. Because our pets have smaller body mass than we do, they can become dehydrated more quickly than we can. And it’s not like they can tell us that they’re thirsty. Be sure your pets have plenty of fresh, clean water, especially when it’s hot outdoors.

Like with heatstroke, it’s good to know the symptoms so you can intervene if your pet is in danger. Some signs of dog dehydration include loss of appetite, reduced energy level, panting, dry nose, thick saliva, vomiting, loss of skin elasticity, and dry, sticky gums. If you see these signs, it’s time to act.

Storms Can Be Scary

Summer weather often brings a few storms, and those can be scary for our pets. Thundershirts, or vests that apply a calming amount of pressure, can offer comfort to anxious dogs or cats during a storm. You can also block the noise of heavy rain or thunder with soft music or a white noise machine.

“If your dog or cat has a safe place in your home, like a basement or crate, make sure they have access to that when loud, scary noises happen,” Dean said.

Disaster Prep Kits Should Account for Pets

Sometimes summer storms turn dangerous, bringing flooding or tornadoes. If your family has a disaster prep kit, and it’s a great idea to have one, make sure it accounts for all your family members. Dean suggests the kit contain pet supplies, like food, a water bowl, and a leash, as well as a copy of your pet’s vaccinations in case you become displaced from your home for a time.

Hopefully you’ll never need this disaster prep kit, but it’s good to know that if you ever do, everyone will be provided for until calmer days return.


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