During summer months we tend to spend more time outdoors, but the Arizona heat can quickly become a hazard for both humans and animals. As the mercury creeps higher and higher, it’s a good time to review how to keep animals safe, well and happy.
The number one rule during the summer – NEVER leave your animal in the car alone. On a hot day, interior temperatures can skyrocket in a few minutes, even with the windows open, leading to fatal heat stroke. Don’t risk your pet’s life. Leave them at home.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
It’s vitally important to stay well hydrated – especially for pets that can dehydrate quickly. If your pet is outdoors a lot, be sure to provide lots of fresh water and a shady spot for them to get out of the sun. During the hottest hours of the day keep your pets inside as much as possible. If you own a flat face breed like a Persian cat or pug, you should know that they cannot pant effectively, making them much more susceptible to heat stroke. These breeds, along with older pets or those that are overweight or have medical conditions should be kept cool. Keep them inside in the air-conditioning whenever possible.
Warning Signs Your Pet May Be in Trouble
When is a pet in danger? The symptoms of overheating include excessive panting or breathing difficulties, drooling, increased heart and respiratory rate, mild weakness, stupor or collapsing. Other signs of a pet in heat distress include elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees), seizures, vomiting, and/or bloody diarrheas. If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, get them to the vet immediately.
A pool is a wonderful way to beat the heat, but like children, animals should never be left unsupervised around water. In order to pool-proof your pet, introduce them to the water gradually, and make sure they know how to get out. Practice “swimming to the steps” with your pet until they are able to get out of the pool unaided. If they accidentally fall in when nobody is around, this training can mean the difference between life and death. For dogs that love to swim, be sure to rinse their coats after swimming to remove chlorine or salt. And while it may be a losing battle, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water – the chemicals can upset their tummy.
Walking Your Pet
During summer, be careful of walking your pets during warmer hours. The pavement heats up and since pets are so close to the ground, they can overheat quickly. Even worse, the hot asphalt can cause severe burns to sensitive paw pads. Look for protective “shoes” to keep your pet safe from burns, and try to time your walks for early morning or well after dark.
Beware of Lawn Products, Pesticides & Pool Chemicals
Warmer weather also brings out chemicals that can be harmful to cats and dogs. Keep lawn and garden sprays, weed killers, flea and tick products, insecticides, rodenticides, citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of reach of pets. When taking walks, avoid areas that have been recently treated with chemicals. If you believe your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, call your vet immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435.