Warmer weather is finally here and we’re all eager to get outside with our pets. While spending time outdoors with your pet can be a great bonding activity, there are some safety tips you have to keep in mind for when the temperature rises.
- Never leave an animal alone in a parked vehicle: Even on a 22 °C (70 °F) to 26 °C (80 °F) day when it may feel comfortable outside, the inside of your car can heat up to over 100 °F (38 °C) in minutes, even with the window left a little open.
- Ensure your pet has access to plenty of water: “Prolonged sun and heat exposure can cause dehydration, which, if left untreated, can quickly become heat stroke,” explains Pets Plus Us’ Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Chip Coombs. “If not treated rapidly heat stroke can be fatal for your pet.”
- Know the symptoms of heat stroke: Symptoms of overheating can include laboured breathing or excessive panting, noticeable weakness, stumbling or collapsing. As your pet’s body temperature elevates to over 104 degrees, they can suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. If you suspect your pet is showing the signs of heat stroke, seek help from your veterinarian immediately.
- Keep your pet out of direct sunlight: Make sure your cat or dog has a shady place to rest, such as under trees or tall shrubs. Remember: as the sun shifts, so does the shade.
- Remember that some breeds tolerate heat differently than others: Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins and Pekingese have a hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. This type of dog should be kept under close supervision when playing outside.
- Limit your dog's exposure to sunlight during the day: The sun tends to be the strongest between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. Apply sunblock to your pets ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. There are many sunblocks made specifically for use on dogs or cats.
- Limit exercise on hot days: The duration and intensity of your pet’s daily workout should depend on how hot it is outside. On really warm days, limit exercise to shorter walks. You can do this multiple times a day if your dog has a lot of pent up energy!
- Avoid walking your dog on hot pavement: Hot asphalt can blister and burn your pet’s paws. The rule of thumb (or toe!) is if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s bare paws!