As responsible animal owners, we all know better than to leave a pet alone in a hot car, not even for one minute. But as temperatures begin to rise, there are a number of other hazards that come into play on a hot summer’s day. Everything from dehydration to suffering from a possible heat stroke, both are dangerous or even deadly for some animals.
Check your pet regularly for signs of them becoming overheated or are in need of more hydration. Keep in mind that elderly pets, younger animals and those with certain health conditions are at an increased risk. Watch for:
- Excessive panting, salivating or drooling, which can stop and start again
- Vocalizing for no apparent reason
- Vomiting or diarrhea, which could be bloody
- Weakness, being disorientated and lethargic
- Difficulty rousing them or getting them awake
- Elevated heart rate
Left untreated, your pet could develop seizures, collapse, lapse into a coma and in some cases, the condition could be fatal. If your animal is experiencing any of these symptoms, get them to a veterinarian immediately.
Sometime we may forget about the hot surfaces that our pets walk on during summertime, taking our dog out for a stroll or letting a cat out onto a patio or other outdoor area. Research has shown that contact temperature for a pet’s paws that can potentially cause injury are at:
- 120℉ – this is the stage that becomes painful, but unlikely to cause permanent damage
- 140℉ – burns, scarring and permanent damage can occur after just one minute
- 150℉ – rapid blistering and burning are present
Exactly How Hot Is That Surface
Similar studies have shown when the exterior temperature reaches 95℉, sidewalks and concrete can reach 125℉, reaching and surpassing the threshold of pain. Red bricks heat up to 135℉ and black asphalt comes in at a scorching 140℉. Unless you’re going to be walking barefoot with them on these surfaces, minimally you should be at least checking the temperature with your hand before allowing your animal to walk on them.
Use the same precautions on sand when taking your animal to the park, a beach or other water-related arena that’s surrounded by sand or dirt, which can also heat up to unsafe temperatures. If they’re accompanying you poolside, or some type of cooling recreational area, be sure they have a blanket, towel or mat available for them to lie down in a shady location.
A Hairy Dilemma
Before you consider shaving or trimming your animal’s furry coat for relief from the summer sun, contact a veterinarian or professional groomer first. Some breeds are better left having their hair in place as a cooling method. Also, some animals with lighter colored coats and skin can be more susceptible to sunburn, especially if they’re trimmed to closely.
Even pets are in danger of developing a painful sunburn and can benefit from the use of sunblock. If you’re having trouble locating a pet-friendly brand of sunblock, try one that’s recommended for use on children. Avoid those that contain zinc, as ingestion of this mineral can be harmful for pets.
When it comes to their skin care, many animals are bathed more often and become wet regularly during these hotter months. This can cause the natural oils on their skin to become depleted. Consider purchasing a specialty shampoo that can soothe their skin with ingredients like oatmeal.
Summer is a great time of the year to enjoy spending extra quality time with our pets. Be sure to keep an extra watchful eye on them when temperatures rise to ensure they’re happy and healthy.
Article written by freelance writer, Amber Kingsley. Amber is a pet lover and owner who has written several pet articles on many popular blogs and websites. Find her on Facebook!