Vet Blog

Hot Weather Safety For Pets

June 28, 2019

Some animals are better equipped at dealing with summer heat and humidity than others, but it can pose a risk to all pets, irrespective of their age, breed or coat type.

As the temperatures rise, it is your responsibility to ensure your pet is as happy, safe and secure as possible. To help you do this, we have put together this short guide on some of the key things to consider when it comes to hot weather safety for pets.

The ground might be too hot for her paws

Your pets' paws may come across as being very durable. After all, she is able to walk and run across tough terrain far better than you could in your bare feet. However, her paws are still sensitive to temperature and if the ground gets too hot, she is at risk of burning them - something which is exceedingly painful. It will affect her mobility and will compromise her ability to regulate her body temperature down since mammals release heat through their paw pads. A good way to judge if the ground is too hot for your pet to walk on is to try it with your own bare feet. If it is uncomfortably warm for you, it is too hot for your pet. Keep her in the shade and save walks for after the sun has gone down.

Don't shave your pet

Many owners mistakenly believe that the best way to keep their pet cool in summer is to shave their fur. This is absolutely wrong and can actually increase the level of risk to your pet. This is because your pet actually relies on her coat to control her body temperature. She should have already shed her winter coat in preparation for the warmer weather too. If you shave a short-haired breed of animal, you put them at a very real risk of sunburn. You can arrange to have a long-haired breed's coat trimmed but be sure to leave at least an inch of hair so that she can still regulate her temperature and is protected from sunburn. It is still worth investing in sun protection for her regardless of how thick her coat is. Make sure to get veterinary-approved sunscreen since human varieties aren't suitable for animals.

Create a cool zone

Despite being able to regulate their body temperature fairly well, pets can still overheat quickly in the height of summer. When the temperatures are at their most unbearable, it is helpful to have a cool retreat somewhere in the house where she can go. Often the kitchen or bathroom are the best rooms for this since any tiles you have will help make the room temperature more bearable and the cool surface will be ideal for your pet to lie on. Place water and snacks in the room and ensure that air can circulate. This will help keep your pet comfortable even when it is extremely hot and humid.

Offer water round the clock

Dehydration poses one of the biggest risks to pets during the summer, and animals that are dehydrated can become seriously ill very quickly. One of the best ways to counteract this is to offer plenty of cool water at all times. Place multiple bowls of water around the house and yard and keep them topped up. Watch how often your pet is urinating. If she is drinking plenty, this should be fairly often. If she isn't urinating very much at all or hasn't been in 12 hours, contact our vet for professional advice.

Don't leave her in a vehicle, trailer or summerhouse

Most people know that leaving pets in vehicles is frowned upon, but when you do this in the summer, there is a high risk that your pet will die. Temperatures inside of a vehicle are surprisingly high, even if it is parked in the shade or if the windows are open. Leaving animals in trailer homes and glass summerhouses is equally as dangerous. Don't take your pet out unless you absolutely have to, and never, ever leave her in a vehicle.

Get her a life jacket

Lots of dogs enjoy swimming, and a quick dip to cool off is a fantastic idea when the days are hot. However, you should remember to give your pet the same attention as you would a child when it comes to spending time in the water. She may seem to be able to swim, but sometimes the water can be unpredictable, or tiredness may make it difficult for your pet to swim. A life jacket means that you don't need to worry about her buoyancy when she is in the water!

If you would like more advice on summer safety for your pet, please contact our animal clinic at our location in Birmingham and Hoover, AL today where our team would be delighted to assist you. Call us at (205) 236-1800.