Hot Weather Tips from Your Friends at Hale Pet Door

Mij, a miniature bull terrier, is keeping cool and ready for those hot summer weekends.

Summertime … and the living is easy. 

But maybe not so easy for your pets if they are left to cope with the heat and dangers of summer.  Just like with people, pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration and even sunburn.  So keep these tips in mind, and you and your pets can enjoy the season.

The number one message to remember is NEVER EVER leave a pet in a car in warm weather.  Even with windows down and even parked in the shade, the interior of a vehicle can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.  Dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage and can even die. A lot of people think they are doing their pet a favor by taking him along while running errands.  Leave your pet in the comfort of your air conditioned home instead.

Any pet can become dehydrated, so keep lots of fresh water available to them at all times.  If you pet is outdoors a lot, make sure there is water available there too and that your yard has a cool, shady spot.  It is important to wash out water bowls daily with hot water and soap to help prevent bacteria in their water bowls that can lead to intestinal issues and even giardia.

Don’t take your dogs for runs or walks in the heat of the day.  They can get heat stroke, which can be fatal.  Know the warning signs:  excessive panting and difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, a deep red or purple tongue, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, a staggering gait, vomiting, diarrhea and collapse.  Dogs with heat stroke also can have seizures when their body temperature is elevated to 104 degrees.  Especially susceptible are pets that are overweight, elderly, have thick coats or flat faces. On hot days limit exercise to the coolest times of the day.

If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.

Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paw-pads. Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.

Be a good pet parent this summer, keep them safe, and have fun.

by Jennifer Munch, Rescue Rewards Coordinator for Hale Pet Door