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Keep Pets Cool — Heat and Hydration Safety Tips

Warm weather means beautiful greenery and extended time outdoors. However, heat can also be incredibly dangerous to our four-legged friends. Imagine wearing a fur coat during a trip to the beach! Below are some helpful tips on how to keep your pets cool and hydrated.

Safety Tips:

Find shade
If you and your pet are outside during the day, make sure to allow your pet plenty of time in the shade. You can also provide your dogs with a kiddie pool filled with cool water or a cool towel to lay on.

Protect their paws
When taking your pet for a walk, check the pavement with your hand before you leave. If you can’t leave your hand for longer than 3 seconds, it is too hot for your pet! Go for walks in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. If you must take your pet out during the day, allow them to walk in the grass.

Hydration is key
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so be sure to provide them with plenty of fresh, cool water. Add some ice cubes for extra fun! If you and your pet will be outside for more than 5 minutes, bring water and a bowl with you.

Know the signs of heat stroke
Animals pant to cool down their body, but if the humidity is too high, animals can’t get cool. Watch for heavy panting, excessive water consumption, and signs of disorientation. Lower their temperature by wetting the top of their head with cool water and increase air movement with a fan. Consult with the pet’s veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pets in car
Cars have the same effect as ovens when turned off. Never leave your pet in your car, especially during hot weather. Check out the thermometer below to see just how hot the inside of cars can be.

Hydration:

One important factor of your pet’s health is hydration, but what many pet parents do not realize is how quickly pets can become dehydrated. Below are some things to keep in mind during warm weather:

Understand how much water your pet needs. Water consumption is important for all mammals, but it is especially important for dogs and cats. Your pet’s body is made up of 80 percent water, which means your pets constantly have to drink water in order to stay well hydrated. On average, your pet needs one ounce of water for every pound that they weigh. If they are exercising or going outside, they may need more.

Avoid going too long without water. A good general rule is to always have access to fresh water no matter where you are. One great product that we recommend is the OllyBottle that acts as both a water bottle and water bowl for your dog! You can purchase one at our shelter or online.

Know the signs of dehydration. Dehydration can happen very quickly. Know the signs to make sure you can get your pet help as soon as possible:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of energy
  • Excessive, ongoing panting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken, dry eyes
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity

What to do. If you notice signs of dehydration in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Heatstroke:

Dogs cool themselves down by panting. However, during extremely hot weather, sometimes a dog’s body temperature rises too high and causes heatstroke. Prevention is extremely important, but if you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, take them to receive veterinary care immediately.

What is heatstroke? Heatstroke is a type of hyperthermia that happens when a dog’s panting cannot accommodate excessive heat.

Understand your surroundings. If you are sweating or feel overwhelmed by the heat, your dog does too! Your furry friend will always try to push themselves to please you. Make sure you are not asking them to exercise or be in an environment that will increase their chances of heatstroke.

Know your dog’s limits. Dogs with shorter snouts or longer hair may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion. Understand your dog’s potential needs and compromise to keep your pet safe.

Do not use ice cubes to cure heatstroke. When trying to cool your pet down, you must slowly decrease their temperature to prevent complications. Ice cubes are great in a dog’s water bowl on a hot day, but if they are already suffering from heatstroke, very cold water or ice cubes can cause shock. Cool towels are best to start bringing the fever down.

Preventing health issues before they occur helps both you and your pet enjoy fun in the sun. If you would like to have a fun reminder of tips, print out the helpful infographic below!