Walking around the park on a beautiful summer midmorning or afternoon with your pet is one of the best experiences for pet-lovers. Most people forget that pets need to exercise to stay healthy and fit. Walking has been proven to be one of the most beneficial physical exercises to pets, and so adequate exercise is one of your responsibilities as a pet owner. However, ASPCA experts have warned that high outdoor temperatures can compromise the health of the pet, whether you are walking them or simply enjoying the outdoors.
Here are some golden tips and advice from pet experts to help prevent your pet from overheating as well as what to do if you suspect that it is suffering from heat-related conditions:
Visit the Veterinarian More Often
This is one of the guaranteed ways of promoting your pet’s health. A visit to the veterinarian for a check-up during spring or summer will help to keep a number of health conditions at bay. While there, make sure that a heartworm test is done. If the pet is periodically attacked by bugs such as fleas, ask the doctor to recommend a safe flea control program. Fleas are notorious for spreading diseases from one pet to another, and they always come out when the weather heats up.
Invest in a Shade
If you plan to spend several hours outdoors with your pet, it is recommended to invest in a quality shade to shield the pet from the sun and ultraviolet rays. Make sure that you do some background research about the shade before placing your order, not only to get the best value for your money, but to also get the best shade for your pet.
It is also recommended to place clean water in the shade to keep the pet hydrated as it rests. In addition, keep them indoors if the outdoor temperatures get too high and avoid over-exercising them in the heat.
Familiarise Yourself with the Warning Signs
Knowing the various warning signs of overheating, such as difficulty or irregular breathing patterns, panting, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, and increased respiratory and heart rates, can help you contain the condition before it escalates. In severe cases, the pets can suffer from bloody diarrhoea, seizures, vomiting, and a high body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Pets that have flat faces such as Persian cats and Pugs are at a high risk of suffering from heat stroke and other related complications. This is because they have a reduced ability to pant.
In addition, senior pets, the overweight, and those that have lung and heart conditions should always be kept in cool and air conditioned rooms during the warmest part of the day. This is because their bodies are not well adapted to such harsh weather conditions.
Never Leave the Pet in a Parked Vehicle
When going out in the car, you should never leave your pet inside alone when it’s hot, even if you leave the windows open. This is because hot air accumulates inside the vehicle, and the temperature raises quickly.
This condition makes it impossible for the pet to breathe well, and he or she could suffer from serious health problems such as heat stroke, and die within minutes.
Make a Safe Splash
Some people believe that dogs are great swimmers, but this is not always the case. To reduce the risk of your dog drowning in a pool or other body of water, it is wise to introduce it to water gradually. If you love fishing and always bring your dog along, make sure that it wears a flotation device. After a swimming training session, remember to rinse their skin to get rid of salt, debris or chlorine remnants that are stuck in the fur. More importantly, you should try as much as possible to prevent the dog from drinking water from the pool or natural body of water.
The chlorine and other chemicals used to treat the water can result in stomach upset and other health complications. Natural bodies of water can have dangerous bacteria in them.
According to a study conducted by ASPCA, the number of injured animals due to High-Rise Syndrome increases during the hot weather months. Because of the heat, pets start looking for relief and are fond of jumping and falling out of doors and windows, which can result in fatal injuries.
Simple precautionary measures, such as ensuring that all your unscreened doors and windows are closed and making sure that all adjustable screens are tightly secured, can prevent such unfortunate incidents from occurring.
Trim its Hair
During summer, it is totally fine to trim long hair on the dog’s body to enhance its appearance. However, you should never shave the dog completely. This is because layers of coats on the skin protect them from sunburns and overheating. Also, brushing cats more often has been proven to be effective in curbing health problems that result from prolonged exposure to heat.
If you decide to use any insect repellent or a sunscreen product, make sure that you check the label to be sure that it is safe for use on animals. Some contain harmful ingredients that can compromise the pet’s skin health.
Steer Clear of Hot Asphalt Surfaces
Asphalt is one of the landscaping materials that are widely used to construct roads or other pavement. During hot weather conditions, this material gets very hot, so it is recommended to prevent your pets from lingering on such surfaces.
Their soft sensitive paw pads can easily burn if they come in contact with such hot surfaces, which is why it’s best to limit the number of times that you take you cat or dog for a walk. Choose the grass or dirt, instead.
Some of the ingredients used to make common tick, flea, and rodenticides can cause health complications to dogs and cats if ingested. Lawn and garden insecticides also contain harmful chemicals that should never be ingested by pets. When taking the pet outdoors, avoid areas that you suspect have been sprayed with these chemicals to avert regrets down the road.
Oil products, citronella candles, and insect coils should also be kept under lock and key. If the pet accidentally ingests or comes into contact with any of these chemicals, call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
Be Cautious When Attending Parties with the Pet
Summer is one of the best times of the year to hold outdoor social parties, such as weddings and birthday parties. If you plan to take your pet to such events, it is important to note that some of foods and drinks can have a negative impact on its health. For instance, alcoholic drinks can cause depression, comas, and intoxication.
Change of diet can also lead to severe digestive complications, so avoid snacks and foods such as grapes, onions, chocolates, raisins and any other product served in the party that contains xylitol sweetener.
Keep the Dog Hydrated
First, it is good to point out that different dog species have varying ways of battling the heat. For instance, those that have dark coats absorb more heat than light coats.
Dogs that have excess body weight are more susceptible to dehydration. When going outdoors, you should always carry a bottle of clean water. The dog can also carry it in a vest or backpack to create a sense of purpose. Understanding the various signs of dehydration such as panting and drooling will help you to know when to give it the water.
Spray the Stomach and Paws with Water
Most people are used to spraying pets with water to keep it cool in hot weather conditions. Unknown to them is that not just the top body parts get heated, the stomach and paws also need to be cooled. One of the best ways of doing this is to use a wet towel. In fact, placing the towel at the underside of the pets body yields more results than when placed at the top.
Keep the Home Cool
Finally, when the temperature outside gets too hot outdoors, it is imperative to keep the home cool at all times. One of the best ways of doing this is by investing in a modern air conditioning system, or consider installing fans. The best are economical on power and very effective in controlling indoor temperatures. Hire an expert to install it to get maximum utility from it.
We all love our pets, and always want the best for them. By using the above tips to keep your pet cool when the warm weather strikes, you will not only give them the best that you can, you will keep them healthy and well in the years to come.