By Laura Sutherland ~
However, we can’t take a vacation from the responsibilities of pet parenting. Summer can be exciting for our four-legged family members, but it also has its hazards.
Dogs (and cats, too) have higher resting temperatures than humans — they’ll get hot, quicker, with less heat. ALWAYS have plenty of fresh water available for your pets; that means a bowl outside, as well as in.
Create areas of shade when pets are outside, especially if trees are not plentiful. Dogs cannot sweat. Instead, they cool themselves through healthy panting.
If your dog pants excessively, bring him inside and monitor his behavior. It’s safest to walk, jog, and hike in the morning and evening, when temperatures are lower.
Dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke just like us. If you see these signs, call your vet immediately:
■ Ongoing, excessive panting and drooling
■ Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
■ Rapid heart rate
■ Changes in mental status
■ Muscle tremors
■ Wobbly, uncoordinated, or drunken gait
■ Unconsciousness from which the dog cannot be awakened
■ NEVER leave your pets in a parked car. When it’s 80 degrees outside, temperatures inside can reach 99 degrees after 10 minutes, and 114 after 30 minutes.
■ How often do YOU go for a barefoot walk on asphalt in the midsummer sun? Well, it’s pretty darn hot on your pooch’s pads, too! Walk Fido in the grass, or buy some foot protection if you must walk or run on concrete.
■ You might think shaving your dog or cat for the summer is the best solution to overheating. But their coat is naturally designed to keep them cool during the summer. Go ahead and trim the fur on your pet, but never shave. Leave at least a full inch of hair to protect their skin from sunburns.
You and your pets can have a blast this summer. Just stay mindful and remember to play safely!