Summer Hazards for Pets

Summer is upon us, and who doesn’t want to spend some time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather with our four-legged friends? It’s important to remember a few things before heading out in the sun for a dog-day afternoon…

First, always keep an eye on your pets around the swimming pool. Some dogs may panic when they fall into the pool, become disoriented and tire themselves out before finding the steps. It is an unfortunate, but not uncommon, accident that occurs.

If your pets are being left outdoors for any period of time always be sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and that there is an area that is cool and shaded that your pet can rest. Temperatures can rise quickly in the heat of the day, so always be sure your pets have everything they need to be cool and safe.

Never leave your pet in an enclosed vehicle unattended. Studies have shown that on a even on a relatively cool day of only 75°F, the temperature inside of an enclosed car can reach up to 94°F in 10 minutes, and 109°F in 30 minutes! These high temperatures can prove fatal to your pet rather quickly as dogs cannot cool themselves very well.

A dog’s normal body temperature is already between 101-102°F, so it’s not going to take much to get them overheated. Dogs typically get rid of excess heat by panting, but things like obesity and diseases affecting the airway may make this difficult. Certain breeds, like bulldogs, pugs, shih tzus , Boston terriers, Boxers, etc., are at even greater risk due to their short noses. Anytime a dog’s body temperature is higher than 105°F, a true emergency exists. Heatstroke is a very serious condition that needs to be addressed immediately. Things you can do include:

  • Removing your pet from the environment to a shaded/cooler area
  • Obtain a rectal temperature (if possible)
  • Gradually cool the body with towels soaked in cool tap water (NOT COLD); place towels over the neck, arm pits, and in the groin area – do NOT use ice water
  • Bring to the nearest veterinary facility

Heatstroke is a serious condition that can affect every organ system in the body. Just cooling your dog may not be enough to address all of the internal changes that have occurred so have her checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.