Summer is our favorite time to be out with our four-legged friends. Whether it’s walking the town, camping, hiking, or exploring lakes and rivers, we need to make sure we are keeping their safety in mind while having fun. Know what your plans are for the day, if you are unsure how long you are going to be out, leave your pet at home, they will ultimately thank you. Though we love enjoying the outdoors, here are a few things to keep in mind for our pets.
Heat stroke is one of the biggest concerns for summer safety when it comes to your dog or cat.
- Age (young/old)
- Lack of access to water
- Confinement in high temperatures without ventilation
- Dry nose
- Poor responsiveness
- Blood from mouth or in stool
- Seizures or tremors
- Ensuring access to shade
- Allowing for rest periods
- Constant access to drinking water
- Keeping your pet under constant supervision
If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, stop all activity get them to a cool area immediately. Try to lower the pet’s temperature by using cool but not cold water on their entire body, focusing on the underside and paws. Your pet should be seen by your veterinarian if symptoms do not improve quickly. If your pet seems to return to normal, reach out to your veterinary clinic to ensure your pet is safe.
Pets overheating in hot vacant vehicles is a tragic and avoidable cause of death in dogs during the summer season.
- Concentrated heat in a poorly ventilated area
- Lack of access to shade or breeze
- Excessive time in hot enclosed area
- Same as above for heat stroke
- If at all avoidable, do not bring your pet with you
- Plan your trip to ensure minimal to no time alone in the vehicle
- Keep your car’s air conditioning running if you must leave for a short time
- Take your dog with you if possible
The temperature of the inside of your car can be up to 20 degrees hotter than outside within just 10 minutes. This is all the time it takes for some dogs to begin showing signs of heat stroke. Follow the above suggestions and get your pet to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Even if you are taking extra precautions, never leave your pet in your vehicle for an extended period of time.
Hot pavement may not be the first thought to cross our minds when taking our pets for a stroll in the summer but it can be very dangerous for them.
- Walks/activities during high heat
- Exposed paw pads
- Lack of access to cool shaded area
- “Prancing” behavior
- Attempting to keep as few feet on ground as possible
- Laying down
- Curling onto rump
- Blistering pads
- Bleeding pads
- Peeling pads
- Take your pet for a walk earlier or later in the day
- Plan outdoor activities during cooler hours
- Utilize shaded trails or paths
- Paw booties
- Hand to pavement: uncomfortable for you? Too hot for your dog
In extreme heat it is vital to keep your pet’s paws in mind. Injury or damage to your pet’s paw pads can cause significant issues in the future. Even dirt or rocky paths can be too hot for safety in some cases so make sure you are aware and adjust your plans accordingly.
What better way to have fun in the sun than in the water? That said, it is very important to know your surroundings and your pets abilities whether at the lake, river, or beach.
What to know:
- Know about health warnings in your area regarding algae or contamination
- Depth of water
- Current where you are going
- How populated the area will be
- Consistent observation
- Do not leave unattended
- Life jacket
- Ensure easy bank access to get out of water
- Allow for rest periods
- Access to shade
- Avoid areas with heavy debris (downed trees, boulders, foliage, etc)
Though it is imperative to remember the risks and to stay educated, make sure to have fun as well! Bring your four-legged friend when it is safe. Leave them at home if you are unsure of your plans or how long you will be out. Remember to bring water and allow your dog plenty of time to rest in a shady and cool area, and enjoy the sunshine!
Written by: Harriet Burquist