Tips on how to keep your pet healthy and happy during the Summer Months
By Matthew Wismayer
While we may like the warm weather in Summer, it is essential to remember that the shift in temperature at this time of year may be difficult for our pets.
When we travel, go for walks, are in the house or yard, pet owners must consider preventive treatments.
Make sure they are well hydrated
Our pets must have constant access to fresh water, but this is particularly important when the weather is hot.
Panting can cause dogs to lose a lot of water, hence they must drink to replenish this. In hot weather, both dogs and cats might benefit from drinking cold water to keep cool.
Place water bowls in several places around your home and garden
Cats enjoy drinking from flowing water, so a feline water fountain is a good idea.
On your dog walks, take a portable bowl and water, and make sure to stop regularly to give your beloved companion a drink.
Most of our feline and canine pets have an inbuilt fur coat and limited cooling abilities. When people feel hot, they can take off their clothes or sweat, but animals are stuck with their fur and can only lose heat by panting or sweating through their paws.
When you are out with your pet, try to provide shady spaces and encourage them to stay in the shade when it's possible.
Walking your dog at a cooler time of day is preferable: early in the morning or late in the evening. If you decide to go outside, keep to shady locations, and wooded areas.
Cooling equipment can be provided at home, such as fans and air conditioning. Fans should only be used if they are kept out of reach of pets and are supervised. Alternatively, place moist towels on the floor for them to lie down on.
In hot weather, try not to over-excite your dog or cat. Consider sports that need less physical effort or activities that use water, such as pools, sprinklers, or hoses.
Ice cubes are fun to play with and eat for many dogs. Some dogs will even like eating a frozen carrot to help them cool.
The presence of fleas and ticks in the environment increases as the temperature rises. Consult your veterinarian to verify that your pet is protected against these parasites. It is also a good idea to keep a 'tick hook' on hand at home, so you can remove any ticks your pet may have without leaving the head behind.
Too much sun can cause our pets to overheat, and they can even get sunburnt. Sunburn is more common in white and thin-coated animals; you may buy pet-specific suncream at pet stores, or a baby-formulated suncream should work.
Heatstroke occurs when a pet overheats and is unable to cool down; if not treated immediately, it can be fatal. Pet owners want to avoid this happening at all costs. It is essential to be conscious of the signs indicating that our pets may be overheating so you can act quickly.
Signs your pet may be overheating:
Increased heart rate
Sunken/ glazed eyes
Vomiting and diarrhea
Your pet becoming wobbly.
Lethargy, progressing to loss of consciousness.
Important: Never leave a dog in a hot car
The temperature inside a car can quickly increase, and dogs have limited cooling mechanisms hence they can quickly overheat and get a heat stroke.
Emergency action to take if you suspect an animal is overheating.
If you encounter any of the signs listed above, you must act quickly to help your pet.
Move them in a cool, shady area, wipe their head and body with wet towels and provide them with water to drink. It’s important to not cover them with a towel since the towel heats quickly. Do not plunge them into cold water or make them drink huge amounts of water at once.