Summer is hot on our heels, which means the sun is shining brighter, and the temperature is steadily increasing. Yet as the heat allows for more fun in the sun, it’s vital to remain aware of the vulnerabilities that warm weather presents. For humans, that means sunscreen application and hydration. But for our furry friends, we must keep a careful eye out for their wellbeing as they also enjoy the outdoors.
“Summer is a fun season because it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy activities with our pets, but with the exposure of the sun, we must take extra care so they aren’t overheating or becoming dehydrated,” said Natalie Buxton, the director of marketing and communications at Operation Kindness. “Keeping everyone safe from the heat means paying attention to our furry friends and their needs as well as taking necessary precautions, like protecting their paws on walks, to ensure the health and happiness of the companions we love so much.”
While it’s nice to get out and take a stroll through the park or spend the day splashing about at the pool, the higher temperatures due to warmer weather can be a cause for concern for humans and animals alike. Overheating, dehydration, burning, and more are common issues during the summer months, and both dogs and cats also experience these uncomfortable conditions.
Dogs are known to cool down differently than humans —dogs pant to keep cool and sweat through their paws—while cats clean and lick themselves as a method to cool down with their saliva.
Extra steps pet owners can take to ensure that their furry friends are safe during the summer are:
- Bring water – having extra water on hand keeps pets hydrated, and it’s best to leave some out long before they get thirsty or beg. Like humans, pets are susceptible to dehydration.
- Watch for signs of heatstroke – as a life-threatening condition due to the body’s inability to cool down; heatstroke is imperative to avoid. Resting, finding some shade, or not staying outdoors for extended periods, reduces the likelihood of a severe medical emergency.
- Avoid walks during the hottest hours – while pets love to get some exercise, it’s essential to avoid the hottest times of the day. Going for a walk early in the morning or later in the evening ensures decreased sun exposure, hot temperatures, or causing damage to pet paws due to hot asphalt. If the pavement is still hot, be sure to walk in the grass.
- Grooming – while pets shouldn’t be shaved entirely, reducing the amount of coat hair through brushing or haircuts can alleviate some of the heat that builds up from having a heavy coat of fur. Proper grooming keeps them cooler while still allowing protection from sunburns.
- Play in water – all pets should be monitored when they’re around water, but there are creative ways to cool them down with a little H20. Giving pets a chance to splash around in a kiddie pool, play with sprinkles that spit water in random sequences, or laying out a wet towel are all beneficial ways for pets to remain outdoors but keep cool in the summer heat.