The Heat Is On for Dogs and Cats This Summer

In Animal Health, Dog Behavior, Dog CPR, dog walker, Dogs, pet care professional, pet cpr, Pet Death, Pet First Aid, Pet Safety, Summer pet safety, veterinarian by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Summer is Here

With summer’s heat in high gear, dogs and cats are at risk for heat-related health issues. Living in Texas, a state with a reputation for soaring temperatures, I am especially conscious of outdoor activity for my dogs, Kona and Emma, and my pet-stroller-riding cat, Casey.

Be aware that heat stroke (medically known as hyperthermia) can happen rapidly – in as little as 30 minutes — in any dog or cat exposed to warm or hot temperatures.

Unlike us, cats and dogs do not have skin pores all over their bodies. They try to regulate their body temperatures primarily by panting.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion that could advance to heat stroke include:
Excessive panting
Red gums
Staggering when walking
Rapid heart rate
Sweaty paws

“Brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs, pugs, English bulldogs and Boxers have a much harder time controlling their body temperature during heat and humidity,” says Dr. Peter Weinstein, DVM, president of PAW Consulting.

 What to Do If Your Pet Is Getting Overheated

Do bring your pet to a shaded area or inside where there is air conditioning.
Do dip each paw – once at a time – in cool water to slowly bring down the body core temperature.
Do use a cool, wet towel to lightly dab on and off their abdomens.
Never place a cool wet towel on your dog’s hot body because it will trap in the heat and cause a sauna-like effect, speeding up the heat stroke.
Never give your dog ice cubes or ice cold water to drink because it can cause blood vessels to constrict and interfere with the body’s attempt to cool down. A hot body coming into contact with ice can also result in shock.
Do call the nearest veterinary clinic and alert them you are en route and follow their instructions.

Keeping Pets Cool This Summer
dog swimming

Aim to take them on short walks when the temperatures are the least menacing – early mornings and after sundown.

Limit any time on hot sidewalks or asphalt surfaces. On a 77-degree day, the temperature radiating from the sidewalk is actually 125 degrees. Dogs standing still can suffer from burns to their paw pads within one to two minutes.

If you have an adventure-minded cat who loves joining you on hikes, select a cat backpack that provides proper ventilation by offering mesh panels, air holes along the bottom and ventilation holes.

Always bring water and a water bowl on walks, stopping often for water breaks for the both of you.

Adjust exercise to activities indoors in a climate-controlled environment.

Fit any dog with a floatable life vest before allowing them to join you in the pool, lake or ocean. Always rinse their coats completely with water and towel dry after these swims. And always provide fresh water for your pets to drink after swims, especially in salt-water oceans.

Learn Pet First Aid

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