Vet Blog

Rising Temps: Summer Heat Safety for Pets

March 18, 2019

Summer may be the favorite season of many people, but not all pets are equipped to deal with soaring temperatures and bright sunshine.

This means that as a responsible owner, you will need to adjust the care you provide so that you can be certain your precious pet isn't adversely affected. To help keep him safe, happy, and comfortable, here are our top tips for heat safety this summer season.

Bring Small Mammals Indoors if You Can

It isn't just cats and dogs that need to be kept cool in the summer months. Small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs and even birds are susceptible to overheating if the temperature rises high enough. Bring them indoors if you can, placing them in the coolest environment possible. Letting them roam in a room with cool tiles is very beneficial. If you can't bring them in, soak a towel or blanket in cold water and drape it over their cage. Keep the enclosure out of direct sunlight too.

There Is No Such Thing as Too Much Cool Water

Whether your pet is drinking it or bathing in it, you cannot underestimate the value of cool freshwater this summer. Your furry pal should be drinking plenty, and you can even pop some ice cubes into his water dish to make it even more refreshing. You can also cool him down with baths or showers. Just be careful not to put ice cold water onto a pet that has suspected heatstroke as this could cause him to go into shock.

Limit Walks to Early Morning and Late Evening

The ground can heat up very quickly during the day. If you usually take your pet for a walk during the day, it is advisable to change your routine so that you are walking either before 10 am or after the sun has set. Many pets are seen by veterinarians with burnt paws every year, and not only is this extremely painful, but it can also prevent your pet from cooling down properly as many animals use their paw pads to expel excess hair. As a rule of thumb, if it is too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, it is too hot for your pet too.

Create a "Chill Zone"

Everyone has one room in their home that is cooler than all the others. It is a great idea to make this somewhere that your pet can hang out when the temperatures become unbearable. For many people, it is the bathroom or kitchen that is the coolest, often helped by floor and wall tiles that keep temperatures down. You will often find pets naturally gravitate to laying on these cold tiles when they get too warm. Place a bowl of water and your pet's favorite blanket or bedding in the room to make it as comfortable as possible for him.

Know the Signs of Heatstroke

Although you will undoubtedly do everything possible to keep your pet cool, it is helpful to know what the signs of heatstroke are so that you can get professional help quickly should the need arise. Signs of heatstroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Thick drool or saliva
  • Bright red tongue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Very pale or red gums
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Inability to urinate
  • Respiratory distress

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