The summer temperatures and bright sunshine beckon you outside to enjoy the weather with your furry pal. However, heat, humidity, and what you do to keep cool can be dangerous for your pet. Follow our Aberdeen Veterinary Clinic team’s heat safety tips to make the most of your summer with your four-legged friend.
#1: Enjoy pet-safe frozen treats
What better way to stay cool on a hot day than with a frozen treat? While the sugar, fat, chocolate, and other ingredients in ice cream can cause your pet health problems, you can easily make a whole variety of pet-safe snacks. For example, freeze a rubber Kong stuffed with yogurt, peanut butter, spray cheese, or meat-flavored baby food for a simple frozen treat, add ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl, or let them gnaw on frozen fruits and veggies.
A quick internet search will turn up other treats that are free from dairy, added sugars, or toxic ingredients.
#2: Check the weather forecast
The extended outdoor adventure you have planned to enjoy with your four-legged pal can suddenly take a turn for the worse when you realize that the weather is excessively hot and humid. So, keep a close eye on the weather forecast when you plan outdoor activities, and choose the coolest part of the day to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety.
#3: Seek out the shade
When the sun beats down, a black asphalt surface absorbs the rays, and its temperature skyrockets. If your pet walks on such pavement, their paws can be blistered and they will be in agony in minutes. Whenever possible, stick to shaded areas, or avoid pavement altogether and walk on grass or dirt.
If staying off hot pavement is not possible, have your pet wear booties outdoors to protect their pads from the scorching surface.
#4: Play in the water
Splashing and swimming are great ways for your pet to stay cool, but water can be hazardous if you don’t stay aware. Keep your pet out of deep water unless they are wearing a safety vest, and do not allow them to drink water from chlorinated pools, or from potentially contaminated ponds, streams, or lakes.
A shallow wading pool is a safe, fun way for your pet to refresh. Toss in a few toys for your dog to retrieve, or sit in the pool and splash around with them. A game of fetch in a sprinkler will also keep your furry pal cool.
#5: Groom your pet properly
If your pet has a thick double coat, you are likely tempted to shave them down to the skin for the summer. However, your pet’s fur is critical for regulating body temperature, and a well-groomed coat traps air close to the body and helps them keep cool in the summer—and warm in the winter.
Instead of shaving your pet completely, trim long feathers and some hair on their abdomen, which will help heat dissipate when they lie on a cool floor, and brush your pet regularly to prevent tangles and mats. Also, skip warm baths and use tepid water so your pet does not overheat.
#6: Play indoor games
When the conditions are too miserable to head outside, but your pet is eager for exercise, create interactive indoor games that will safely burn off energy. Try the following ideas:
- Agility course — Build jumps, weave poles, and tunnels out of furniture and other household items. Lure your pet around the course with a treat or toy until they get the hang of running the course, and then encourage them from a distance or run by their side.
- Training session — Brushing up on old tricks keeps your pet physically and mentally fit. Throw in some new skills to keep your training sessions fresh and exciting.
- DIY enrichment toys — Create engaging toys out of household items for your furry pal. Craft a snuffle mat from old T-shirts, cut holes in a plastic bottle for a treat-dispensing toy, or scatter snacks in crumpled paper in a cardboard box.
#7: Watch out for heatstroke
Heatstroke can set in rapidly if you’re caught unaware, so learn to identify heatstroke in your pet and take immediate action. If your pet shows the following signs, bring them indoors:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling
- Thick, ropey drool
- Bright red gums
- Disorientation or confusion
- Staggering while walking
Cool your pet safely by running tepid water over them in the bathtub. Point a fan at their face for maximum heat dissipation. Check their temperature every five minutes, and stop cooling procedures when your pet gets down to 103.5 degrees. Then, give our Aberdeen Veterinary Clinic team a call to let us know you’re bringing in an overheated pet, so we can prepare for your arrival.
Summer with its heat and humidity is no joke and can prove fatal for your furry pal. If you suspect your pet is overheating, contact our Aberdeen Veterinary Clinic team immediately for help.