When the weather heats up, pets can be very uncomfortable. They can also suffer injury and even death. It’s so important to keep your pet safe during the hot summer months. Here are some tips to help keep your feathered and furred friends safe this summer.
One of the best things about summer is taking your pets on fun outings. Hikes, walks, farmers’ markets…but make sure you prepare ahead of time and use common sense. Have a cooler with bottled water for pets (and humans!), and take along a bowl or other container that your pet can easily drink out of. A spray bottle is a good idea, too, so you can mist your pet if it gets too hot. And seek out shade periodically so your pet isn’t “baking” in the hot sun the whole day.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Cats, dogs, rabbits, and pet birds are all prone to heat stroke. Here are some of the signs to watch for.
- Anxiety and agitation (the dog won’t settle down)
- Excessive panting (this varies by breed – you’ll probably know when your dog is panting more than usual)
- Sticky, dry mouth and gums
- Weakness in the legs and a staggering gait
- Anxious and agitated behavior like pacing
- Dark-colored gums
- Rapid heartbeat
- Holding the wings away from the body
- Agitation and anxious behavior
If your pet exhibits any of these signs, get him or her to an air-conditioned area immediately. For birds, darkness is important in calming them. Spritz your pet with cold water and call your vet.
Yes, you’ve heard this – but it just has to be included in any pet safety checklist for summer, because people still seem to miss this. Do not ever leave your pet in a parked car when the temperature is over 70 degrees F. Period. Even with the windows down (which risks your pet jumping out anyway!), it can still get deathly hot in a parked vehicle. And even if you just want to run into a store for a minute…don’t.
Stocking up on a few battery-operated, portable fans can really help. If possible, try to get some of the fans that also spray mist while they blow. That can really help keep a pet cool (it’s nice for people, too!), and the fine mist is less “offensive” to animals like cats than a spray bottle.
A few simple precautions and increased awareness can help keep your “fur (and feather) family” safe this season!