Do you know how to keep your pet safe when the weather heats up? Like most people, you’re likely careful to never leave pets in vehicles when it’s hot outside. But there’s more to know when it comes to keeping pets cool, comfortable, and out of danger.
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Dogs are generally at highest risk. When it’s hot, cats prefer to chill. Your dog, on the other hand, will try to go for a run or play fetch no matter the temperature. That means you must avoid hazardous situations and know what to do if your pet overheats. Some tips:
- Keep the most at-risk pets inside and keep the air conditioning on for them. Older pets as well as kittens or puppies don’t handle weather extremes as well as healthy adult pets. In addition, dogs or cats of breeds known as “brachycephalic” – short-nosed pets such as bulldogs, pugs or Persian cats – have a greater difficulty keeping themselves from overheating. These high-risk pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, and any outings should be short – potty runs only.
- Exercise your dog during cooler parts of the day. While short-nosed pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, other pets can enjoy supervised outdoor time early mornings or late in the day. Walks are good for both dogs and people, and you don’t have to skip them, just time them better. One rule of thumb: Put your hand on the sidewalk, and if it’s too hot to leave it there, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
- Know the signs of overheating – and what to do if a pet gets too hot. Just as important as keeping pets out of heat danger is knowing what to do if a pet overheats. The signs in dogs – the most likely victims — are rapid, even frantic panting, very red gums, and a glassy look to their eyes. An overheated dog is in a life-threatening situation: Apply cool water – not icy cold, and not ice – to the groin area and get your pet to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital right away.