Summer is here, but the Summer season also comes new challenges for pet owners, including considerations that you may need to make to keep them safe. Here’s what you need to know about the most common Summer dangers for pets.
One of the biggest mistakes made by novice pet owners, and even some seasoned ones, is taking their pets for a walk during the hottest part of the day. When temperatures are at their highest, it can be much harder than usual for an animal to control their body temperature. Dogs pant to lower their temperature, but on really hot days, this isn’t always as effective as it should be, which puts overheating pets at risk of potentially deadly heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include:
Extreme salivation with thick drool
Loss of appetite
Vomiting with or without diarrhea
The ground can get very hot during the course of the day. If you have ever gone into the yard barefoot on a hot Summer’s day, you’ll be all too familiar with how painful it can be. Your pet’s paws don’t provide any additional protection and many vets see an influx of animals with burnt paw pads during the Summer months – something which is extremely painful for your pet and completely avoidable. If you can’t comfortably walk outside barefoot, neither can your pet. Check the ground temperatures before you head out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter how hard vets, animal lovers, and others try to push this message - sadly a number of owners still choose to leave their pets unattended in hot vehicles every year. Devastatingly, some of these precious animals don’t survive. Heat inside a vehicle is very different to heat outside, and opening a window, parking in the shade or leaving an open water dish won’t make any difference. Temperatures inside a parked car can reach dangerously high levels even on just a warm day, and animals can develop heatstroke and slip into a coma in under 10 minutes. If you can’t take your pet where you are going, leave them at home.
Dehydration is a very common Summer danger for animals. Most owners don’t monitor exactly how much their pet is drinking, but if your furry pal isn’t taking in more water than their body is using, they can quickly become dehydrated, which can be life-threatening. Owners should make themselves aware of the signs of dehydration so that they can take action if they think their pet might be affected. These include:
Dry, pale gums
Loss of skin elasticity (gently pinch an area between your fingers and see how long it takes to spring back)
Not urinating frequently
If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, you should seek an emergency appointment with your vet at Animal Emergency Center of Temple-Belton. You can help to prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated by making sure that they have access to cool, fresh water at all times and monitoring how often you are topping off their water bowls.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your pet taking a dip in the pool, a nearby lake, or a river, but you shouldn’t let them swim unsupervised. Even if they have a pretty strong doggy paddle, the water can be unpredictable, and animals can become more lethargic than usual when trying to swim in the heat. If they love the water, consider getting a life vest to help your pet maintain their buoyancy and make it easier for them to enjoy their time in the water. If your pet isn’t one for swimming, you can still help them to cool off by using a hose or sprinkler or by placing them in the shower.
If you would like more advice on keeping your pet safe this Summer, don’t hesitate to contact our veterinary experts at the Animal Emergency Center of Temple-Belton in Temple, Texas at (254) 231-3774.