Protecting Your Pets From Summer Heat
While you want your pet to share in all the fun times with the family this summer, you must remember that pets can suffer from some of the same negative effects of heat as their owners.
Pets may suffer even more from the heat because of the way their bodies respond to compensate for the rise in their body temperature as well as from their other unique physical features.
The actions of their owners, while they may be based on good intentions, can also be a factor in causing their pet to come to harm from the sweltering heat of summer.
Health risks to your pet from outdoor activities in hot weather
Whether you're taking your pet along while you run or allowing your pet to run free in the hottest part of the day, you are exposing your pet to heat related illnesses. Morning and evening are the safest times to take your pet outdoors in the summer, even on cloudy days.
Pets don't perspire as humans do to lower their body temperature. This is instead achieved by panting, which is a more active activity. When body temperatures rise too quickly, panting becomes excessive in an effort to compensate, then the panting itself becomes a contributing factor in the buildup of internal heat.
Your pet may then suffer from heat exhaustion. If your pet appears to be panting excessively, drooling, and exhibiting signs of fatigue, you should get your pet to a cool location until they can recover. Don't let them continue to be active even if they wish to do so.
Heat stroke can be deadly, and may manifest itself in seizures and vomiting. The body's defenses against heat become overwhelmed and shut down, allowing body temperature to become unregulated.
If your pet exhibits these symptoms, and has a body temperature about 104 degrees F, you must cool the pet by wither immersing it in cool water or drenching it with a garden hose. Give it as much water as it will accept, and take the pet to an emergency vet, like Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital.
Sunburn can occur even on overcast days, and may be exacerbated by pet owners who shave their pets for the summer months to keep them cool. Fur actually helps to protect against sunburn. Of course, it's always a good idea to brush away excess hair regularly during the summer season.
Ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn, because of their relative lack of fur. Your pet's feet are also vulnerable to burns from surfaces heated by the summer sun. This includes asphalt and well as beach sand. If you can't walk on a surface with bare feet, neither can your pet, so don't let them run uncontrolled on any potentially hot surface.
The only place for a hot dog in the summertime is on the grill.