The summer season is a great time to bond, relax, and have fun with your furry friend. Yet, it can also bring dangers to them.
Some of the most common summer risks for your pet are sunburn, overheating, dehydration, and stroke. Our furry companions do not sweat the same way as humans do, so they quickly become overheated.
But don’t worry! There are ways to avoid these problems, so you can still bond with your pet outdoors. Here’s how to help keep your pet safe this warm and dry season.
9 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer
1. Provide Plenty of Water
Dehydration in dogs and cats can happen during the summer. However, this is especially true for dogs, as they get much thirstier during the summer.
Some signs of dehydration to watch out for are excessive drooling, diarrhea, heavy panting, and dry gums. So, always ensure your pet has good access to clean, fresh water inside the house.
If you’re going out with your pet, bring a bottle of water. You may also want to switch to giving them wet dog food to increase their fluid intake and avoid these food allergens for dogs.
Test Your Dog’s Hydration
Did you know that it’s easy to test your dog’s hydration? Simply pull up the skin around their neck. If the dog is hydrated, the skin should snap back down. However, if the dog is dehydrated, it goes down very slowly.
Do this hydration test on a temperate day at home for your reference point.
2. Give Them a Dog Hat
While dogs and cats enjoy sunbathing, they can still overheat under direct sunlight. So, keep them safe from heat stroke by being in the shade as often as possible. If they need to go out, let them wear a dog hat.
A hat not only provides relief from the heat but also shades your pet’s eyes from the sun. You can switch to a knit or pom pom dog beanie during winter to keep them warm and cozy.
3. Limit Exercise on Hot Days
Exercise is good for your pet. It helps their poo and wee, making them less likely to get a urinary tract infection or constipation.
But during the summer months, you should take precautions when exercising your pet. Adjust the duration and intensity of the exercise by considering the temperature.
Exercise your pet early in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening when the temperature is more bearable and cooler. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears because they are susceptible to skin cancer. Meanwhile, short-nosed pets typically have difficulty breathing.
Letting them walk on asphalt in the summer can also burn their paws. The composite material used for roads gets very hot on a sunny day.
4. Let Them Wear Dog Apparel for Summer Weather
While you may think dogs shouldn’t wear clothes during summer, as this can overheat, it’s not always the case.
Some places get extremely windy during summer, especially near the ocean or the sea. In this case, smaller dogs may feel cold during summer. Thus, they’re the pets that need dog apparel designed for the summer weather.
Some of the best summer dog apparel includes bandanas (also make an adorable fashion accessory) and dog sneakers.
5. Apply Sunscreen
Humans need sunblock to prevent our skin from getting burnt and drying out. Well, dogs need sunblock or sunscreen, too, because they also get sunburns.
This is most especially beneficial for pets with light or short hair coats. Like people, sunburns also hurt, which may lead to skin cancer.
However, make sure to choose what kind of sunscreen to choose. Use only sunscreens for pets, as they lick their coats for grooming.
Applying sunscreen to humans may also lead to emergencies because it includes toxic components for animals. You can always consult a veterinarian for suggestions for pet-approved sunscreen.
6. Don’t Leave Them Alone in a Hot Car
One of the most essential safety tips you should remember is to NEVER leave your pet inside your car, especially in hot weather.
Even a slightly opened window is insufficient to give ventilation or keep the car cool for animals. Doing so is even illegal in some states.
7. Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
If you’re feeling hot on a summer day, you bet your dog feels the same way or even warmer than you do.
But since dogs (and cats) are good at hiding such an essential part of their nature, you must know if they’re suffering from heat exhaustion.
Aside from a bright pink tongue and pale gums, listen for heavy, loud, and rapid panting. Weakness and fatigue, a disoriented wobbly walk, a blood stool, and vomiting are all signs that something is wrong.
Emergency First Aid for Dogs During Summer
If you suspect your dog m be suffering from the early stages of heat stroke, take them immediately inside or in a shaded area. You can drape them with cool towels. But do not use ice water because it only closes the dogs’ pores and worsens the problem.
The goal should be to gradually decrease the temperature without inducing shock. After this, take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
8. Clean Them After Visiting the Beach
Always give your pet a thorough rinse after a trip to the beach to remove salt and sand that has built up in their fur. Such a buildup may lead to skin irritation, especially for dogs with more sensitive skin and long hair.
9. Give Them Frozen Treats
If you could enjoy ice cream this season, why not extend that fun and goodness to your pets? But of course, only limit it to small quantities.
Ice cream is safe in small quantities for cats, which limits it to “licking.” On the other hand, dogs can safely consume ice cream and other frozen treats as an occasional treat.
You can prepare them with frozen apples, cantaloupe, and bananas for a healthier option. Make sure you’re also giving them fresh fruits without added sugars. NEVER give your pet grapes and raisins.
Start Practicing Basic Summer Safety
A little empathy for our furry friends goes a long way in protecting them from the summer weather. So, start practicing these essential summer safety tips, and you’ll feel good knowing you’ve given your pet the best care possible.