The weather here in Southern California can get awfully hot, particularly in the summer. While you’re busy seeking out shade and air conditioning, make sure you’re keeping your little furry pal cool too. Here are our top tips for avoiding heat stroke in pets!
Stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, you can bet your pets are too. In fact, dogs actually lose moisture faster than humans, so it’s doubly important that they drink plenty of water. Bring water bottles and a water bowl wherever you go. Keep in mind that deeper bowls stay cooler longer than shallow ones. You can also add ice.
Protect tender paws. Hot pavement can scorch paws. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your four-legged bestie too. Check the pavement before you go outside. If it’s too hot, outfit your pet’s paws in booties or protective wax.
Think before you shave. Counterintuitively, not all pets will benefit from a summer haircut. The thick fur coats of some animals, such as Siberian Huskies, actually help keep them cool in warm weather. This is why it’s important to maintain their coat. If you have a particularly bushy pet, try using a FURminator. This brush thins out their undercoat, while leaving the outer coat intact to insulate them and shield them from the sun’s harsh rays.
Limit exercise. Heat waves aren’t the time to run a couple miles with your dog. Follow your gut when it comes to exercise. Time physical activity around peak temperatures. Walk your pets early in the morning or late at night when the sun is down or less intense. Exercising your pets indoors is an even better idea.
Leave cats and dogs at home. It’s tempting to take your dog with you to brunch, but leave them at home in the air conditioning or in front of a fan if it’s really hot out. And never ever leave your dog in a warm or hot car. Even cars of 70 degrees can get dangerously hot very quickly. Studies show that on a 75-degree day, a car’s interior can heat up to 100 degrees in just 10 minutes. Dark cars and cars in the sun can reach as many as 200 degrees.
Watch for signs of heat stroke! These are some of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in pets:
- Excessive panting in dogs or any panting in cats
- Reddened gums
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive drooling
If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, call your vet and seek emergency medical care immediately!