Summer is in full swing, and so is the heat! The hottest months of the summer season are now upon us, and we are feeling the temperature rising! I know that we all love summer and the ability to get out and enjoy the outdoors with our friends and family, but it is important to remember our pets during this time. Summer temperatures can prove to be uncomfortable for ourselves, but it can also be just as uncomfortable for our pets as well. Many of the same effects that external temperatures play on our bodies will impact pets as well. Their bodies do not respond to heat the same as our bodies do, so it is important to remember a few safety tips when it comes to protecting your four-legged friends this summer season.
Never Leave Your Pet in A Parked Car
On warm summer days, the heat held within a vehicle can climb up to dangerously high-temperature levels. Within 10 minutes, the inside of a car with the windows open can raise the temperature inside the car up to 20 degrees! Within 30 minutes, it can be up to a 40-degree temperature difference than it is outside. And this is with a widow open.... can you imagine the temperature difference if the windows were rolled up? A minimum 20-degree temp spike on top of the sweltering heat we are already enduring can be tragic for a pet trapped inside. Leaving your pet in this environment can easily lead to organ failures, dehydration, heat stroke, and possibly death.
Fans Are NOT a Solution
We all work to keep our electric bills as low as possible during these hot summer months. None of us look forward to the utility bills that come along with trying to keep us cool during the heat. Often times we will rely on fans to help cool the area so we can turn our thermostats up. It is important to remember that fans do not cool pets as effectively as they do humans. Dogs release their heat, or sweat, from their feet, therefore, making fans less effective in cooling them down. I am not telling you to crank your AC down to 70 to keep your pets nice and cool and soar your electric bill up; however, I just wanted to make you aware that if you are relying on fans to keep the area cooler, then you may want to consider another option for your pet in keeping them cool.
When exercising your pet this summer, try to limit your activities to the morning or the evenings when the temperature is cooler rather than during the extreme heat of the day. Make sure that the activity you have planned is in accordance with the temperatures of that day. During your outdoor summer activity, make sure you have water for your pets to keep them cool and hydrated to prevent a heat stroke.
Although it is easy for us to look at a number to determine how “hot” it will be that day, however, it is important to consider the humidity levels as well. Humidity can affect your pet just as much as the temperature can. According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD of the Human Society Veterinary Medical Association, “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperatures will skyrocket to dangerous levels.” There are several parts of the US where humidity levels are a huge concern for pets. It is important to remember to consider humidity levels along with the temperature when you plan outdoor activities for your pets.
Shade and Fresh Water are a Must
Pets need to be able to get out of the direct heat. Allowing them the ability to get out of the sun and into the shade is very important to prevent them from getting too hot. Shade trees, a tarp that they can get under, and a covered porch are great ways for outdoor pets to get a break from the heat. When possible, especially on extremely hot days, it is recommended that pets be brought inside to keep them cool. A dog house is not an acceptable form of shade! Dog houses trap heat much like a car does, making the temperature soar. It is also important for pets to have access to fresh water throughout the day to keep them cool and keep them from getting dehydrated. Make sure to check their water bowl throughout the day to make sure they have plenty of water available to them.
Heat Stoke is one of the biggest concerns for pets that are exposed to extreme summer temperatures. If you think your pet may be suffering from a heat stroke, take them to the vet immediately! Some signs and symptoms of a heat stroke include rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, dizziness, and fever. If you see any of these signs, your pet may be suffering from a heat stroke and needs medical attention as soon as possible. I hope that you and your pets enjoy your summer season! We all love the summer months because it gives us the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air, warm sun on our bodies, and the fresh scent of flowers, grass, and trees. I know your pets do as well, and we want to keep them safe for many more summers to come. You can get more pet safety tips at www.humanesocity.org. After your day of fun-filled summer activities, we want to welcome you home to your pet-friendly apartment home!