We’re days away from the official start of summer! While there’s a lot to love about warm weather, it has some risks, too. When it comes to pets, heat and humidity can lead to serious health issues like dehydration and sunburn. Hot weather risks increase for flat-faced animals who can’t pant. Luckily, there are preventative measures you can take to protect your fur babies, and we’re sharing tips for keeping pets safe in hot weather. Here are some ways you can keep your cats and dogs cool all summer long.
Prevention Is Key
Prevention is key to keeping pets safe in hot weather. Start the summer off on a *safe paw* by bringing your pet to the vet at the start of the season. Extreme heat can exacerbate existing health conditions, so it’s best to identify and treat any issues before the hottest months of the year. Your vet can help ensure that any underlying issues are addressed before the heat and humidity kick into high gear.
Provide Plenty Of Water
Dehydration is a major risk for pets. Excessive exposure to heat causes water and electrolyte levels to deplete. This leads to dehydration, which can damage organs. If prolonged, dehydration can lead to serious health consequences, including death. You can decrease the chances of dehydration by providing continuous access to clean, fresh water for your pet. If you aren’t home during the day and are worried about your pet running out of water, you can purchase a pet water dispenser, like this one.
Symptoms to watch for are panting, sunken eyes, lethargy, weakness, lack of appetite and loose, wrinkled skin. If you suspect that your pet may be dehydrated, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms.
Give Them Shade
Shade from the sun is essential to keeping cool in the summertime. If your apartment is flooded with natural light throughout the day, be sure to provide shaded areas for your pet to rest. Invest in some curtains you can close during the hottest part of the day to help keep your pet cool during those grueling summer afternoons.
You also may want to consider purchasing an extra fan or two that your pet can lay near when they need to cool off from the heat. Fans can be especially helpful when you bring your dog back inside after a walk on a hot day, which brings us to our next point.
Keep Your Walks Short
In extreme heat, it’s best to keep your dog walks short and sweet. While exercising your dog is important, it can become dangerous if they overexert themselves in hot weather. Instead of one long walk or run, try breaking up your walks into shorter intervals. That way, your pup will still be getting enough exercise without prolonged exposure to the heat.
Keep Your Pet Groomed
Proper grooming is an essential component of pet care, and it becomes even more vital during the summer months. Frequent grooming removes excess fur, which helps with keeping pets safe in hot weather. This is especially true for longhair cats or dogs. But even pets with short fur can benefit from regular grooming.
However, it’s important to not that shaving your pets is not recommended. Long fur helps protect their skin, and shaving can make pets susceptible to sunburn, which brings us to our final point.
Consider Pet Sunscreen
Sunscreen isn’t just for us humans. Pets need it sometimes, too! Dogs can get sunburnt from prolonged sun exposure just like we can. For dogs, a sunburn can result in painful, inflamed skin and even fur loss.
However, that doesn’t mean you should slather your favorite SPF onto your pooch. It’s essential that you find a sunscreen that doesn’t contain zinc oxide, as it can be harmful to dogs. Another common ingredient found in sunscreen, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), can also be harmful to pets. Check out this article for more information on pet sunscreen safety.
If you have a hairless dog, such as a Chinese crested, sunscreen is a must for outdoor outings in hot weather.
Bonus tip for keeping your cat cool: Try making these Cat-sicles!