The summer heat can be uncomfortable for both dogs and humans. And if we lose power, it is not only dangerous to us but to our pets as well.
There are a few things you can do to keep both you and your pets cool this summer.
1. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS IN A PARKED CAR even with the engine running and the air conditioner on.
On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle rise rapidly to dangerous levels. For example, on an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Even with the air conditioner on, something may happen, and your engine shuts off and there goes the air conditioner. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
2. Limit exercise on hot days
Adjust your exercise routine in accordance with the temperature. On extremely hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. If that is not possible keep in mind that asphalt and sidewalks get extremely hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from getting dehydrated.
3. Watch the humidity levels.
If you live in an area where there are elevated levels of humidity, then take extra precautions to ensure that your pet does not get overheated. A Dogs’ temperatures should not reach over 104 degrees.
4. Watch for signs of heatstroke.
Your pets are at a higher risk for heat stroke if they are old, young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.
Signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
If your pet shows any of the signs above, then immediately take your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink a small amount of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them immediately to a veterinarian.
5. Provide ample shade and water.
Whether your pet is indoors or outside on a walk or playing in the yard, provide plenty of fresh, icy water. Put ice cubes in the water if necessary to keep it cool. If outside playing, provide shade in the form of a tarp or have plenty of trees to shade. A doghouse does not provide ample cooling or shade as the heat trapped inside makes the temperatures rise.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat. Petco, PetSmart and Chewy have a variety to choose from. They run anywhere from $30 to 150, depending on the pet and size needed.
Providing a doggy pool for relief from the heat will help them cool off as temperatures rise. Here’s a couple of links with the best dog pools for 2023 (no affiliation with the recommendations below):
6. Prepare for power outages.
Being home in the heat with no power is not only dangerous for people, but also for all your pets. If you prepare ahead of time, you and your pets will be much more comfortable.
Indoors may not be the best solution during a power outage as heat can get trapped indoors. Create an area with shade and ventilation. Using damp towels will help you and your pets stay cooler. Remember, water is the most important thing during power outages. Be sure your pets have easy access to cool, clean water always.
Make sure you have a plan in place just in case of power outages as the temperatures rise. Humane Society has valuable information on disaster planning for any type of disaster that may arise.
Summertime can be a fun time with your pets if you follow just a few steps to ensure everyone stays safe and cool.