Summer can be a time of joy and fun. Warm weather, hot days spent outdoors, performing activities we had to put aside when the winter cold kept us indoors. For pet owners, summers can be special, too. Walking, rollerblading, or playing a game of Frisbee in the park with the dog at your side. But as fun as summers can be for both pet owner and pet, they can also be dangerous. Dogs, cats, fish, birds and other pets are as subject to the dangers of heatstroke as their human counterparts. When pets become dehydrated or are overactive in excessive heat, their bodies respond in the same way as humans: they stagger, they vomit, have seizures, and become unconscious. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, cool him down with cold water and get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Every second counts. But avoid your pets from becoming victims of heatstroke by making sure they are kept cool at all times.
One mistake pet owners make is by leaving their pets in their cars. Cars can be dangerous places on very hot days. They can easily heat up to 120 degrees even in 70 degree temperature weather. The car’s windows and metallic frames can heat up in the hot temperatures and turn the inside of your vehicle into an oven. Keeping your dog inside will sentence him to a certain death. Better to leave your dog at home while you go out on errands or, if you must take him with you, take him out of the car and make certain that you leave him in an area where he can be tied up nearby, preferably in the shade.
If you leave your pet in a garage, make certain it is well ventilated. Like cars, garages can easily heat up with no air flowing through it. Always keep your pet in the shade and make sure there is plenty of fresh water nearby. Like humans, animals get dehydrated too.
A fun way to keep your pet, especially dogs, cool is by hosing them down with a water hose or a bucket of water. Dogs love to get wet and this will be a great way for them to get outdoors and be active without endangering them in the heat.
Otherwise, limit your pet’s outdoor activities to early mornings or late evenings. Those are usually times when the temperatures cool down. Walk your dog during these hours. It won’t be taxing to him or to you as his owner.
Dogs aren’t the only animals who suffer from heatstroke. Cats are also vulnerable in the heat, so make certain that you take care to prevent them from becoming victims. Of course, unlike dogs, cats don’t need to be walked, but if your cat is outdoorsy then you need to be careful about when to let your her outside. Again, make sure that you leave your cat in areas that are well ventilated and that she has plenty of water to keep cool. When leaving your cat alone at home, make sure the windows are open to allow a circulation of air. Apartments and homes can easily heat up in hot temperatures (in fact, without air conditioning, sometimes indoor areas can be hotter than outdoors). If you’re concerned about your cat getting outdoors, then leave on fans or air conditioners to keep the area cool.
If you have birds or fish, remove their cages or tanks away from windows. Glass heats up in hot weather and reflect directly into the room (this is how houses heat up). Again, place them in cool areas. If that’s not possible, cover windows with heat deflectors to prevent the temperatures from heating up your home.
Losing a pet is as devastating as losing a two-legged loved one. No pet owner wants to experience that. So this summer, when the weather heats up, protect your pets by following these very simple rules.