Summer Safety Tips for Pets

It has been a hot summer, especially here in New Orleans, and now that August is coming it’s going to be getting even hotter. It is important to make an effort to keep your pets happy and healthy during the warm summer months by making sure they keep cool and stay active. Here are a few summer safety tips for your pets.

Keeping Cool

  • Check the temperature of surfaces your pets walk on. If it’s too hot for your hand to touch, it’s too hot for a dog’s paw pads. Don’t forget that pets are also closer to the ground and can get overheated quickly from the warmth radiating off of asphalt.
  • When your pets are outside make sure that they have access to clean, fresh water and a shaded area. Anyone can quickly become dehydrated in the heat and animals are no exception. Try to give them frequent breaks from physical activities so they can get a drink and cool down. Pets with short faces, like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Persians, can overheat even quicker due to an inability to effectively pant, so be sure to pay extra attention to their well-being.
  • Never leave a pet unattended in a car. On a warm day, a car with the windows rolled up can reach 120 degrees in less than ten minutes. Cracking a window won’t properly cool down the car, and air conditioning systems can fail. It’s best to not take the risk.
  • It’s important to know the symptoms of heat stroke and how to treat it. Excessive panting, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, and general physical weakness are early signs that your pet is getting too hot. By wrapping her in cool, wet towels we can slowly lower the dog’s temperature safely; you don’t want to use ice or cold water because if body temperature drops too quickly it can send the pet into shock. Getting your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible will give them the best chance of recovery. For more information about heat stroke, visit the American Red Cross’ site.

Staying Active

  • It is important to have activities to help relieve your pet’s boredom from being “cooped up” in the air conditioning all day. Take dogs for walks in the early morning and late evening, when temperatures are the coolest. Slow, leisurely walks where the dog is allowed to sniff around the environment can be just as mentally stimulating as a jog.
  • Be sure to build enrichment activities into your pet’s daily routine. Use “puzzle toys” to challenge your pet to retrieve hidden food objects. There are several on the market that entertain a variety of pets; a few examples are the Tug-a-Jug, Wobble Kong, and the Catch interactive cat feeder. You can also hide treats strategically around the house; this gives your pet the opportunity to find their food and utilizes their hunting and scavenging instincts.
  • You can play fetch and/or tug with your dog inside the house, but make sure you are in an area away from a lot of breakable items. You can tie a string to a stuffed mouse or other cat toy and have your feline companion chase it around the house. When playing chase or fetch games with pets, be sure to let them catch the items to avoid frustration.
  • Regular attendance at doggy daycares can be a great option for dogs to burn off energy. Additionally, it gives them the chance to socialize with other dogs and be supervised throughout the day.
  • Many dogs love water, and swimming can be great exercise which keeps your dog cool. Use a life jacket if your dog is an inexperienced swimmer. You can also get a baby pool for your yard that can be filled and cleaned quickly.

The most important summer safety tips to remember are to watch your pet for signs of heat stress when outside and to be creative in giving them an outlet for their energy. Be patient, as it will be cooling off before we know it! For more summer safety tips, click here!