July 16, 2021
How to Keep Your Pets Happy and Healthy During the Summer
Saying that the summertime is hot is an understatement. The scorching temperatures that come with summer put our dogs and cats at high risk of dehydration, overheating, and heatstroke. So, check out our July blog post to learn all about the best ways to keep your pets happy and healthy while enjoying the summer heat and all of the fun activities that come with it!
How can I keep my pet safe in the summer?
Summer pet safety primarily focuses on keeping pets from overheating and making sure they have access to clean and fresh water at all times to prevent them from getting dehydrated. It is important to keep in mind that dogs and cats only have sweat glands on the bottom of their paw pads; therefore, overheating is a much greater issue for them than humans.
How hot is too hot for dogs and cats? What temperature is unsafe for dogs and cats?
It varies depending on the breed of dog or cat, the acclimation to temperature, activity level of the pet, humidity, radiant heat, airflow, and air velocity; all of these factors play a role in determining what is “too hot.”
It has been shown that any humidity above 80% can negate evaporative losses which is the primary way that pet’s dissipate heat. To determine if it is too hot for your pet, we recommend that you monitor them closely in the environment and keep an eye out for early heat stress.
What are the symptoms of overheating in pets?
- Mild Overheating
- Increased Heart Rate
- Standing odd postures
- Seeking Shade
- Decreased Activity
- Moderate Overheating
- Standing odd postures
- Excessive panting (Cannot stop to drink water)
- Slower Mentation
- Severe Overheating
- Depressed Mentation
- Sprawling on ground
- Excess salivation leading to lack of salivation
- Hemorrhagic Diarrhea
Is it safe to take dogs and cats out in hot weather?
Yes! It is safe to take pets out in hot weather when appropriate precautions are taken. Keep in mind that it has been shown to take 10-20 days to acclimate an animal to increased environmental temperatures, and in some cases, this can take up to several months. Make sure your pets have access to clean and cool water at all times, and it’s recommended that you take breaks during exercise, keeping a close eye on clinical signs of heat stress and monitoring how your pet is doing.
How do indoor cats keep cool in the summer?
Indoor pets will often find cooler areas in the house to lay on such as cool tile, the basement, or on top of air conditioning vents. It can be helpful to place fans around popular areas for your pet to lay on, as well as extra water bowls, putting ice in them to keep the water cooler for an extended period of time.
How do you cool down cats and dogs in heat?
Ice water immersion is the fastest way to bring down the internal temperature on an overheating pet. Isopropyl alcohol or cold water placed on the chest and over the large veins on the inside thighs also cools very quickly.
Are dogs and cats natural swimmers?
Most dogs and cats will be able to figure out a basic “doggy paddle” but not all are intuitively able to do this. Short nosed, wide chested breeds tend to have a much more difficult time swimming due to their anatomy making the correct posture for swimming difficult to obtain. Be sure to introduce your pet slowly to water by walking them in on a gradient to deeper water and if you have a short nosed breed it may be a good idea to place a life vest on them prior to swimming/boating trips.
If you have any questions or to schedule an appointment, feel free to call our fur-riendly team members at Carrollton Animal Hospital at (330) 627-4898 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Lee Palmer, DVM, MS, DACVECC, VIN/VECCS Rounds: Tactical Field Care for Working Dogs, Part 1, June 30, 2014