What can you do to make summer comfortable and safe for your pet?
- Provide lots of fresh water . Make sure it’s in a container that can’t be overturned on accident and that there is enough to last all day. In addition, if you use a zip line or some other type of tether you need to make sure your pet can’t become entangled and unable to reach either shade or his or her water source.
- Indoors or out . Is there a place your pet can stay cool a nd out of the sun ? That may mean keeping your pet indoors in the air conditioning in the summer. However, there is nothing wrong with a dog run or backyard shelter providing there is access to shade, water and hopefully a breeze.
- Jogging – maybe not. Your dog may jog with you all winter. However, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to continue jogging with Baxter in the summer heat. Dogs can’t cool themselves like we do. Add that to the fact that your loyal companion will keep going no matter how hot he/she gets and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless you run early in the day, before the heat sets in, leave your dog at home.
- Never leave your pet in the car! Want to know why? Check out this data compiled by the Animal Protection Institute. If your car is closed with no open windows and it’s 82 degrees outdoors the temperature in your car is 109. At 91 degrees, it’s 115 in the car. Think cracking the windows help? If it is 84 degrees outside the temperature in the car is still 98 degrees. At 90 degrees, it is 108 in the car. Got the picture? Even leaving your pet in the car while you run in for a short errand can be deadly.
- What are the signs of heatstroke? You may see excessive panting, stumbling, weakness, stupor, and bright red gums. Body temperatures of 104 degrees or more can occur. As heatstroke progresses, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma, and death may follow. “Parked car” or brachycephalic breeds such as Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boxers, and others are much more susceptible to heat-related problems. Even your bunny, chinchilla, or reptiles can suffer from heat-related problems.
- If you suspect heatstroke – it’s an emergency! Hose your pet down and bring him/her to the clinic immediately! Don’t try to treat heatstroke on your own. Heatstroke can literally cook internal organs. Pets who have suffered heatstroke may also experience swelling and edema of the trachea making it difficult for them to breathe. Too much cooling can make your pet even sicker. It’s a balance of IV fluids, supportive care, and monitoring. Leave it to the professionals.
- Pet pools – are great for helping your buddy cool down in the summer heat but remember to change the water frequently. If you are lucky enough to have a people-sized pool, treat your pets just like your children. Protect them from accidental drowning by never leaving them in the pool area unsupervised.
- Cool Ideas. Think about getting a pet fountain that provides a continuous stream of fresh, cool water to drink. Fans can help where air conditioning isn’t available. Bandanas and body wraps made specifically for cooling are available. After soaking in cool water, these products can provide relief for a limited time. Frozen pop bottles are fun for pets to play with. Even bunnies can benefit from a frozen pop bottle in their cage. Just make sure to wrap it in a cloth before placing it in with your rabbit but don’t let bunny start chewing on the cloth or bottle.
- Shaving? That’s up to you to decide, but if you do, remember your pet will be much more likely to sunburn in the sun. Double-coated breeds do best when their undercoat is brushed out leaving their guard hair. This allows trapped air to cool your pet.
- Exotic tips. Cold-blooded pets need warm weather care too. Air conditioning can be TOO COLD for many exotics BUT a terrarium placed up against a hot window may become an oven. This applies to birds as well. Too much draft and cold will result in upper respiratory problems. Too much heat can cause heatstroke and death.
Animal Family Veterinary Care offers an extensive range of services all in one place, so we can meet your pet’s needs in almost every situation. Our veterinarians in Davenport treat dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and a variety of other exotic species, because every pet is unique and important.