6 Hot Weather/Summer Pet Safety Tips for Cat & Dog Owners
Summertime means backyard barbecues, vacations at the beach, and enjoying the hot weather with a cool summer treat. It’s also a great time to bond with your pet by playing outside or maybe even going on a hike. However, pet owners should be aware that the higher temperatures can also put our furry pals in danger. The heat puts pets at risk for more injuries, skin and ear infections, and could even cause them to suffer from heat stroke.
Humans naturally produce sweat. It is our body’s way of cooling itself down if our temperature gets too high. But our pets do not sweat in the same way that we do, and as a result, they can quickly become overheated.
We all want to be able to enjoy the summer season, but it’s important to do so safely. That’s why if you’re a dog or cat owner you should keep the following tips in mind while enjoying the outdoors:
1. Give your pets plenty of water and shade
It’s easy for dogs and cats to become dehydrated in the hot summer sun. Signs that your pet may be suffering from dehydration include dry gums and drooling much more than usual. That’s why it’s critical to ensure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh, clean water. If you’re outdoors jogging with your pet or enjoying quality time at a doggy park, you should bring a bottle of water for your furry companion.
You may want to also consider switching to a wet food option for your pet during the summer months to help increase their fluid intake.
You should also try and keep your pet in the shade as much as possible. Although dogs and cats love to sunbathe just as much as humans do, they can easily become overheated from too much direct sunlight. If this happens, your pet (especially dogs) can experience heat stroke.
2. Watch out for the warning signs
An average temperature for your dog is between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit. A cat’s normal body temperature ranges anywhere between 100.4-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If their temperature rises any higher than that, they are in immediate danger.
Make sure you know what signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Heavy Panting
- Incessant Drooling
- Shaky legs
3. Never leave your pet in the car
Leaving your pet in a car during the summer, even if it’s for just a few minutes, is never a good idea. A car can heat up to over 100 degrees in under 10 minutes. This can result in your cat or dog developing heat stroke and can have deadly consequences.
Depending on what state you’re in, leaving your pet in a hot car could even result in you facing criminal prosecution.
4. Use sunscreen to prevent burns
Just like humans, pets can get sunburns too. You may also be surprised to know that too much exposure to the sun can leave your beloved pet vulnerable to skin cancer. As a preventative measure, use pet-friendly sunscreen to cover their bellies, ears and nose. Your veterinarian can suggest products most suitable for your furry little buddy.
5. Limit your outside time
If you like to walk and exercise with your dog, be sure to do so either early in the morning or later in the evening when there’s less sun. When you’re outside, especially if it’s the middle of the day, take breaks in the shade and be sure there is plenty of water available for the both of you.
6. Stop shaving your pet in the summer
You may think you’re helping your pet stay cool by shaving off their fur, but your pet’s coat is naturally designed to keep them cool in warmer temperatures. It’s ok to give them a trim. However, you should leave at least an inch of hair on their bodies to help protect them from sunburns.
Dogs and cats will pant and drink water as a way to bring down their body temperature, but excessive panting may be a sign that they are dehydrated. If you’re concerned about your pet overheating, rub their paws and stomach with a wet towel to cool them down. You can also use a spray bottle to mist them with water and cool them off even faster.
To learn more about the team at Central Texas Animal Hospital, view our team page or contact us today to schedule an appointment! We offer veterinary services for cats and dogs in the Pflugerville/Austin-Round Rock, TX area.