Heat waves take a toll on humans. But we’re not the only ones feeling the burn…our pets do, too. Here are some tips from Dr. Elena Sawickji of the Allentown Animal Clinic to keep your four-legged friend safe in the extreme heat.
Made in the Shade. Animals need a cool place to relax when they’re outdoors. Made sure there is a nice shaded area in your yard where your pets can go to escape the summer sun. On really hot days, bring your pups inside, preferably in an air-conditioned room.
Drink Up. Just like us, pets need extra water during the summer to stay hydrated. They will drink more than they usually do, so it’s important to keep an eye on that water bowl. Refill it often with nice cool water. When you take your pet out for a walk, bring two water bottles, one for you and one for your little buddy.
Work it Out. Speaking of walks, exercise is of course crucial for pets. Taking daily walks with your four-legged friend is a great way to spend time together and get in exercise for both of you. But in the extreme heat, even the shortest walks can be dangerous. Make sure to only take your pets out for exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t so strong.
No Joy Rides. As much as they may beg you, don’t take your pets along for car rides during the summer. It’s simply too hot for them. Even with the windows cracked, leaving your dog in the car can be deadly on a hot summer day.
Pets, especially dogs, are very susceptible to heat exhaustion when the temperatures are unusually high. Symptoms include excessive panting, vomiting, and lack of energy.
“If you think your pet has heat exhaustion, first bring them inside into a cool place. Then, wet down their whole body to bring down their body temperature. Bring them to a veterinarian immediately,” says Dt. Sawickji.
Heat exhaustion causes your pet’s organs to begin to shut down. If not taken care of right away, it can be deadly.
“We had one case this year where the dog’s body temperature was 109 degrees. Normal temperature for a dog is about 102 degrees. We give the animals anti-inflammatory medicine to bring down the swelling in the organs. We also rehydrate them,” says Dr. Sawickji.
Pocket pets like guinea pigs and chinchillas are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion, while it’s uncommon in cats because they don’t move around as much.
“Remember, our pets are wearing a fur coat all year long. We can take ours off, they can’t,” adds Dr. Sawickji.
Follow these tips to have a safe summer with your favorite four-legged friend!