How to Keep Pets Safe in Hot Weather

how to keep pets safe in hot weather

Summer is here, and with it comes a whole new set of challenges for pet owners. While you may already be doing everything right, it never hurts to remind yourself of the things you can do to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable during the summer.

What are the Most Common Problems Pets Encounter During Summer?

You’d be surprised by these common problems pets encounter during summer. For example, dogs tend to overheat more easily than humans in the summer heat, making them more susceptible to sunburn, exhaustion, and even heatstroke. 

What does heatstroke look like in dogs? They may act lethargic, show signs of pain, be disoriented, and even have seizures. These problems usually occur when the animal's core body temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s tongue turns purple or pale, that is a serious red flag and they should be taken to an emergency vet right away.

Another common problem we see in many dogs is paw burns from walking on hot concrete. If you’re going to walk your dog on a hot sunny day be sure to test the temperature of the concrete by placing the back of your hand on it for a few seconds. If it’s hot to the touch or is uncomfortable for you to keep your hand there, that means it’s way too hot for your dog to be walking on it. If your dog seems less inclined to walk on the concrete, try walking on grass instead.

Tips to Keep Pets Safe in Hot Weather

We have many hot and sunny days ahead, so what can we do as pet parents to keep our pets feeling cool and comfortable all day? To keep your pet cool during the summer, you have to first make sure that they have access to plenty of water. Make sure that they drink at least 1 quart of water a day. You can add some ice cubes to their water bowl throughout the day. This will entice your pets to drink more water. Proper hydration is key for both pets and humans to maintain regular organ function.

The second is obvious but is extremely important. NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with windows slightly open. It is illegal in the province of Ontario and most other cities for you to leave your dog unattended in a hot car. The temperature inside a car can rise surprisingly quickly and can get very uncomfortable in a few minutes. Staying in a hot car can cause heatstroke, and if not attended to quickly can result in the death of your pet. If you must leave your dog in the car for a short period of time, open the windows slightly, keep the car running with air conditioner, and leave them with a bowl of water. 

Thirdly, keep exercise to a minimum on hot days. If you and your dog like long walks, make sure to walk them either early in the morning or later in the day when the temperatures are cool. If you need to take them out for a short walk throughout the day, keep them short and walk on grass instead of concrete. There are plenty of other ways to give them exercise inside your home like playing fetch or playing hide and seek!

Dog Grooming During Hot Season 

In the summer, we always recommend our grooming clients to opt for a shorter haircut. A short clip between 1/4” and 1/2” will keep them light and comfortable while protecting their skin from sunburn. Keeping them short will make it easier for you to brush and bathe at home too. For our long-haired double-coated breeds like Golden Retrievers or Samoyeds, instead of clipping them short we always suggest a deep de-shedding treatment that will loosen and remove the undercoat. This will help them regulate their body temperature without trapping in the heat. Please remember that clipping a shedding breed can ultimately damage their coat, and may even result in the hair growing back sparse sometimes. 

We especially recommend a short haircut for dogs that frequent the cottage or the nearby beaches. If they like to go swimming, make sure to bathe them at home with shampoo to ensure the bacteria lakes and chlorine from pools are completely rinsed out. To prevent matting and hot spots, it is important to completely dry them with a dryer. NO air drying!

Summertime is a great time to be outside with your furry friend, but it’s important to remember that dogs can overheat quickly. Keep these tips in mind to help prevent heat stroke and keep your dog cool all summer long. If you have any questions about how to care for your pup, don’t hesitate to email us – we’re always happy to help!

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