Pets - Summer Heat

Pets – Summer Heat

With summer in full swing people are spending more time outside and are including their pets. It is great to include your pets but precautions are needed. This articles, Pets – Summer Heat is to try to make sure the time together is fun and safe.

When dealing with pets and the summer heat you should be careful with the heat and the humidity. All pets – dogs, cats, and all other pets – can get heat stroke just like a person.  Even healthy pets or pets who are active and outside a lot can suffer from heat stroke. Older pets and certain breeds of dogs can be more prone to heat stroke. Dog breeds with shortened faces (such as Pug, Bulldog, and Shi Tzu) can be more susceptible. Since pets cannot talk they can not tell you know when they are getting overheated. You will need to keep a close check on them for signs of heat stroke. Listed here are some of the signs of heat stroke. Articles at the end of this post list additional symptoms.

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Increased body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated, or drunken gait or movement

If you suspect your pet has heat stroke you need to get him out of the heat and cooled down immediately.   The pet needs to go to the Vet. They can get fluids into him/her and check for possible organ damage due to the heat stroke.

In order to avoid heat stroke make sure there is plenty of water available for them to drink. The water given must not have been left out in the sun. Water left out in the sun will be too hot to drink. If they did the hot water could scald their mouth and throat. The same way as if you drank a hot drink before it has cooled down some.

Also make sure there is a shady area for them to get under for relief from the sun. This includes a shady tree, a dog house, under a porch, a canvas/tarp stretched over some boards/posts. Something that would provide a sizable area of shade that is easy for your pet to get to and use.

If you and your pet are doing exercise  (running , playing) you need to take into account the surface you are on. If you are on a hard surface (asphalt, concrete) your pet could overheat faster than if you were on grass.  Your pet’s paws will burn if he/she stays on the hot asphalt or concrete for any length of time. The hotter the surface the less time they need to be on it. There are pet shoes available at some places that help protect the paws.

Also avoid the hottest time of the day if you take your pet outside for exercising / play time.  A better time for these activities would be earlier in the morning or later in the evening.

Being left in a vehicle during hot weather (regardless of the season) is a main area where pets are injured / die. Cars heat up real quick and there is no way the pet can get out to save himself. This applys to children and elderly parents left in the car waiting for your return. It is never a good idea to leave any of them in the car alone.

Pets – Summer Heat – Options:

If you want to let your pet be outside at home but do not have an enclosed yard there are options.  A deck with railing and an opening could have an outdoor pet gate  attached to the railing. This provides an enclosed place for your pet. When there is not a deck available you could consider using a type of play pen. A  freestanding outdoor pet gate with 6 panels that can convert into a play pen. There are also movable pet play pens of various sizes that could work.

If you live in an apartment that is above the first floor with a balcony you may want to think about using a deck shield. This is a safety net that attaches to the railing of a balcony/deck. This helps prevent your dog from falling through the railings. This comes in 15 and 30 foot rolls which you trim for the correct fit.

Here are links to some articles with information dealing with  Heat Stroke:

Heat Stroke in Dogs 

Heat Stroke and Hypothermia in Dogs