Help Pets Stay Cool
During the hot summer months — especially in the South — pets also experience discomfort from extreme temperatures. Here are some tips from Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of the pet services company Camp Bow Wow, to keep pets safe in the summer heat.
• Protect pets from the sun. Cats and dogs can get sunburns that cause the same problems people experience: peeling, redness — even cancer. Apply pet-friendly sunscreen on places that are prone to burning: the nose, around the lips and inside the ears (if they stand up).
• Give your pet a cooler ‘do.’ Shave down to a 1-inch length — never to the skin — so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Brush cats often to get rid of loose hairs.
• Keep the water bowl full. Pets need extra water during summer. Change it often to prevent bacteria growth. Also, pets can mistake puddles of what may look like water on the ground for dangerous chemicals, so keep an eye out when your pet is looking for something to sip.
• Make a safe splash. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around open water, since not all pets are good swimmers. Introduce your pet to water gradually and make sure he wears a flotation device when on a boat. To remove salt from your pet’s fur, rinse him after swimming.
• Avoid crowds. When the mercury hits record highs, don’t take your pet to crowded summer events like concerts or fairs. Loud noises and crowds, combined with heat, create stress for pets.
• Exercise in cooler temps. Pets need exercise even when it’s hot, but show extra care, especially for older or overweight pets, by limiting exercise to early morning or evening hours. Be extra cautious with short-nosed dogs and dogs that have thick coats.
• Watch for signs of heatstroke. Dogs can quickly develop heatstroke. Signs include excessive panting, staring, anxious expressions, warm skin, refusal to obey commands, vomiting, collapse and rapid heartbeat. Lower your pet’s temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to hairless areas of her body. If her temperature soars back up or falls below normal, take her to the vet immediately.