Summer is a much-anticipated time of the year and is the season for lots of outdoors fun for humans and pets alike. However, as temperatures get higher, there are certain challenges for pet owners when it comes to our animal’s health.
Here are some top tips to help keep our animals as healthy and safe as possible in hot weather.
As temperatures rise, the risk of dehydration in animals increases significantly. Potentially a fatal condition, dehydration occurs when your animal has not had enough water to drink, reducing the fluid level in their body to dangerously low levels. The most serious cases can cause death in just a few hours, so good hydration during the hotter months is essential.
Make sure your pet has a constant supply of fresh, cool water. Check their bowls regularly, empty and refill if the water has gotten warm, and top up if the water level has evaporated or they’ve been drinking. Try and monitor how much they are drinking as closely as you can to ensure that they are getting plenty of water and provide access both day and night.
As with other illnesses or conditions, recognizing when an animal is dehydrated can be difficult because of its instinctive ability to hide any signs of being unwell. Being able to notice signs of certain conditions can help make sure that if our pet is unwell, we can get them the help and treatment needed, especially where prompt treatment is critical.
Some of the typical signs of dehydration to look out for are:
Not passing urine as frequently or not at all
Loss of skin elasticity
A general change in behavior
If you think your pet may be suffering from dehydration, immediately contact an emergency veterinarian - quick action could save your pet’s life.
Sadly, in summer, there are increased reports of pets dying after being left in a hot car that offers no protection from the heat. The inside of a car can be hotter than the outside temperature. An ambient temperature in the high-70s can lead to the temperature of a vehicle rising to over 100-degrees in just a few minutes. A hot car is not a safe place for any living being - even with windows cracked or parking the vehicle in the shade, it is not a suitable environment for our pets.
The same also applies to garages or sheds that become hotter than the outside temperature. These too can become dangerously hot in a matter of minutes, putting your pet at risk of overheating.
For pets that spend a lot of time outside, having a cool, shady refuge from the sun and the heat is very important. Whether it’s letting them back into the house to relax, lying on cooler hard flooring to cool down, or just a shelter like a playhouse or a tent in the garden, any refuge from the heat and direct sunlight can help keep their temperature under control as well as protect their skin from being sunburned.
Unfortunately, every summer, emergency veterinarians treat many dogs who have suffered burns to their paws caused by walking on hot surfaces. During the hottest part of the year and day, surfaces like tiles, asphalt, sand, and resin/composite flooring can become unbearably hot. Because of this, it is best to avoid walking a dog at this time of the day. If your schedule means you have to walk them during the day, a simple hand against the ground or slipping a shoe off to test the surface is incredibly useful in determining whether it is safe to walk a dog on that surface. If it’s too hot for us to have our bare skin against it, it’s too hot for our furry friends.
If you have any questions or would like any further advice regarding keeping your pet safe in the summer heat, please call us today at (254) 752-6100. Our experienced veterinary team at Waco Animal Emergency Clinic in Waco, Texas would be happy to help!