Summer is in full swing. It’s the season of family vacations, festivals, water play, and cookouts. The kids are out of school, and there's always extra fun to be had. However, here in Texas the heat can feel a bit out of control with triple digit temps and blazing sun. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy during the dog days of summer.
Keep them coolAlways be thinking of ways to keep your fuzzy loved ones cool, whether you're staying home, going out for the day, or taking a trip. Their comfort and safety in the heat is important, as is yours. Have a "Keep Cool" plan and make it a priority.
Never EVER leave your pet in the carWhen outdoor temperatures range from 80 to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car can very quickly reach 175 degrees. Seriously, it is like an oven in there. That is unsafe for anyone, especially our beloved pets. If you need to run errands with your dog or cat out of the house during the day, consider looking into doggy daycare or dayboarding where your pet can enjoy safe and fun indoor play while you are tackling your errands.
Keep the water flowing for them
Be sure that your pet has unlimited access to fresh water at all times. Bring a reusable water bottle just for them or a collapsible water bowl to ensure they're properly hydrated.
Short muzzle breeds need extra care
Short-faced dogs, like pugs and bulldogs, need extra care in the heat. These are Brachycephalic breeds, which means that the components of their airways are compressed, and their short faces, while adorable, can make it a bit more labor intensive for them to breathe safely and coolly in the heat, especially if they are being active. Therefore, these dogs are more at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and their time in the warmer elements should be monitored closely. Keep potty walks quick and avoid the heat of the day when possible, this goes for all breeds. Provide plenty of shade or a kiddie pool to help them stay cool when they are outside. Of course, air conditioning is certainly best.
Protect their paws
Pet paws are sensitive. Avoid walking them on hot concrete and asphalt. You can read here for more paw safety tips in the heat.
The sound of fireworks can be very stressful for all pets. Keep them inside and as far away from the noise and concussion of firework blasts as possible. Pet them, sooth them, and talk to them if they get nervous or scared. Make sure they are in a secure and safe environment, in case they feel the need to flee. It is also wise to keep pets away from any fireworks you might bring home to set off yourself. The chemical compounds used to create the colorful sparks and loud bangs can be poisonous to animals and small children, so be cautious. It's a good idea to keep your fireworks in a sealed plastic tub. This keeps them dry and protected and insures safety for curious pets and kiddos.
Consider a summer cut
Some breeds fair better during summer months with a different groom. Ask your groomer what they recommend to make your dog comfortable during the warmer months ahead.
Sunscreen delicate skin
Humans aren’t the only ones that are at risk of sunburn or skin cancer when we leave delicate skin exposed. Play it safe and protect your dog’s ears, belly, nose and other vulnerable areas with pet safe sunscreen that you can find online and many local pet stores.
Bring supplies for day trips and dog parks
Summer is filled with awesome opportunities for taking your dog along with, like pet friendly festivals, trips to the lake, picnics at grandma’s, and outings to the dog park. Don’t forget to bring everything you need (water, sunscreen, shade, etc) to keep you and your pet safe during your activities. It is better to be safe than sorry. Access to water is the most important thing - always bring your own, just in case.
Watch closely for heat exhaustion
If your dog shows any indication of heat stress, it is important to get them cooled down right away. Symptoms include heavy panting, lethargy or unresponsiveness, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, and wobbly legs or poor balance. If you are worried your dog is in danger of overheating get them to a cooler place, either in the shade or air conditioning, if it is available. Any abrupt changes in their body can cause shock, so avoid cooling them off by placing them in ice cold water. Instead, cover them with a cool wet towel or place them in front of a cool draft to bring their temperature down incrementally. Make sure they are hydrated, and don’t hesitate to call your vet for advice on additional care if you are concerned.
This is the time of year to check with your vet and make sure your furry loved ones are protected against all types of creepy crawlies. Hookworms and heartworms are more abundant in the summertime, as are fleas and ticks, so keep the little buggers at bay. We strongly recommend staying on top of your pet’s flea and tick prevention year round. The Mild winters in Texas do not get rid of these pests completely.
Don’t forget that some summer fun can definitely take place inside. Air conditioning is a marvelous invention that makes high temps bearable. Block out the fiery sun by drawing the curtains and snuggling up with your pet and the rest of the gang for a movie or some summer reading to ride out the hottest part of the day. It’s okay to wait until cooler parts of the day to go outside, and your pet will be happy for any extra cuddles and pats.