With summer in full swing, many people are more than happy to spend the long, warm days enjoying the beautiful weather and summer activities. And often, these activities include our pets.
But as the weather heats up, the risks to pets increase too. That’s why it’s crucial for pet owners to know the various health and safety risks pets face in the summer, and take steps to keep them safe.
Summer safety concerns for pets
Unlike humans, animals have different (and fewer) options for keeping cool in warm weather, which is one of the main reasons summer poses a greater risk to pets.
This is especially true for dogs—they cool themselves by panting and release moisture through their paw pads and nose.
Despite fewer methods to regulate their body temperature, our pets are actually susceptible to many of the same issues we face in the summer, including:
- Heat exhaustion. When internal body temperature rises, heat exhaustion can occur in pets the same way it does in humans.
- Heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when body temperatures continue to rise, causing organs to shut down. Dogs can succumb to heatstroke within minutes.
- Drowning. They may have an entire swimming stroke named after them, but not all dogs love the water or even know how to swim automatically. Pugs, bulldogs, and certain terriers, for example, have difficulty staying afloat.
- Dehydration. Excessive panting in the summer can lead to water loss in dogs and an increased risk of dehydration.
Being aware of these potential risks and following basic summer safety tips are the first steps in helping keep your four-legged family members safe during the summer.
Knowing signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is also important. Excessive panting, lethargy, inability to move, and vomiting are all symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in pets and should never be ignored.
How to keep pets cool in summer
Keeping your pets cool in the summer is a must-do and can prevent many heat-related health risks. Here’s how to make sure your pets stay safe in the heat:
- Always provide plenty of fresh water. Your pets need access to fresh, cool water to avoid dehydration. This is especially true if they’re outside. Dogs need approximately one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, and this amount increases in the heat or after activity.
- Provide shade for pets outside. If your dog will be spending time outdoors, make sure you provide an area with shade for them to rest in. This will help keep their body temperature down.
- Keep your pet groomed for the weather. Long-haired dogs will stay cooler with shorter haircuts. However, avoid shaving your dog; their hair protects them from sunburn and insects.