Summer and warm (hot) weather are upon us shortly. This means a few extra precautions for our furry friends.
We protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun and should do the same for our pets. Animals can get sunburn, too! Apply small amount of pediatric SPF 30 to pale nose tips and bridges of noses, and ear tips. White animals, especially, are prone to melanomas on their ear (pinna tips) and eyelids when exposed to harsh summer sun for long periods of time. Animals that are coated and are shaved for the summer may need sun protection on their backs until their fur grows back, for at least a month or so.
If you aren’t comfortable walking on barefoot because of how hot they are, please don’t expect your pet to walk on them either. Decks, driveways, and sidewalks can become so hot they burn your when barefoot and the same applies to your pets. One simple solution is to place throw rugs and or runners (made for outdoors use and easily hosed off when they too become too hot) on any of these surfaces for your pet to have a comfortable walk to the grass for bathroom access. Another good option is to train your pet to wear booties for protection.
Some dogs enjoy the water and placing a small kiddie wading pool in the yard filled with water will allow them to cool off while outside. However, do not leave them unattended! Be sure to dump the dirty water and change it daily to prevent mosquitos from using it as a breeding ground, or make an inexpensive chlorine dispenser by taking an old margarine container with lid, wash it thoroughly, punch a few holes in the bottom and put a chlorine tablet inside it and then float it inside the wading pool.
An animal that is left outside for any length of time should always have a clean drinking water source. Provide shade for your pet as well. Also, an area to lay on that is not directly on the hot ground, either a raised bed or a pillow bed, will keep your pet comfortable. Animals do not sweat the same way we sweat; they do not have evaporative cooling as humans do! Animals can only pant to get rid of excess heat through their tongues or sweat through their paw pads. They can overheat and collapse in temperatures we think are just starting to get unbearable, especially the bigger breeds and older animals.
Don’t walk animals in the heat of the day, especially for long walks. This applies to high humidity times as well as poor air quality days. Try to take them for walks in the early morning hours and later in the evening at dusk. Don’t forget to wear reflective clothing and have a reflective leash if walking in poor lighting conditions.
ON LAND AND SEA:
If you plan on taking your dog boating with you, remember to take the sun screen for your pet too. Also, every member of the family should have their own floatation device. Even though everyone assumes dogs can swim, not all dogs can actually swim, and dogs can get tired and drown. Floatation devices are also a good idea for smaller dogs that run around in-ground swimming pools in case they slip and fall in.
If you were to find your pet collapsed outside in the heat, place them in the bathtub and run cool (not cold water) on them. You can also put ice packs under their arm pits (axilla), groin areas, and cool towels on their heads and contact your veterinarian immediately. Never put your pet into ice water!
Summer is a fun time for all! If we use common sense then everyone stays safe and can enjoy the summer season. And don’t forget to use flea and tick control!