They may be called the dog days of summer, but the hottest days of the year can pose a threat to your dog, cat, or any other furry family members. As temperatures hit their peak during the end of July through August, it's important to keep your pets safe from the dangers summer poses. We're here with some helpful, and timely, tips to keep your pets (particularly dogs and cats who spend time outside) safe, cool, and comfortable during the dog days of summer.
The number one risk to your pets in the summertime is heat stroke. Because they have smaller bodies than humans, as well as a thick coat of fur, cats and dogs can fall victim to heat stroke long before we do. Signs of heat stroke include:
Dark gums and tongue
Thick, sticky saliva
Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to avoid both heat stroke and other dangers during the summer. First and foremost, never leave your dog alone inside a car. It only takes a few minutes for the inside of your car to reach 120 degrees, and leaving a window cracked or the air conditioner on may not adequately keep your pup safe.
To further stave off over-heating and heat stroke, make sure your pets have plenty of water. On average, dogs need once ounce of water per every pound they weigh every day, and more in hot weather! Cats are descendant from desert-dwelling wild cats, but that doesn't mean they don't need plenty of water, too! A cat fountain is a great way to provide continual fresh water for your kitty. Ironically, dehydrated cats will develop a water aversion, which can be extremely dangerous. If you're concerned about your cat getting enough water, you can switch to wet food for the summertime. Cats can get up to two-thirds of their water intake from wet food alone.
If your pets are hot and thirsty, they're more prone to drink out of puddles, which can contain harmful chemicals. We've all heard the dangers of antifreeze, so be on the lookout for any coolant leaks in your garage, neighborhood, or along your walking route.
Take your dog out for his walk in the early morning or late evening rather than at midday. The cooler temperatures will keep him from overheating. Be aware that hot sidewalks or streets can lead to burned paws. Check your dog or cat's paws for thorns or cuts after a day outside, too, and brush them frequently to remove excess, heat-trapping fur and any burrs that may have gotten caught. It's a good idea to check pets for ticks every day as well.
Unless you have indoor-only pets, they're probably spending more time outside in the warm weather. Other cats, dogs, and even wild animals are spending more time outside, too. Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations to prevent spreading disease during run-ins with other animals. And make sure they always have collars (especially one in a summery color, like this bright orange collar) with tags in case they wander off!
It's important to keep your pets safe this summer, but it's also important to have fun! Summertime is the best time to get outside for a game of fetch or, for us cat-owners, maybe some lounging on the grass.
Find out more about how to keep your pet safe this summer, and get some ideas on how to make your four-legged friend's day with our guides! What activities do you like doing with your pets in the summertime?
Posted by Andrea Sparks