Our furry friends are not always fans of hot weather. Their fur coats and limited abilities to eliminate heat from their bodies, make it difficult for them to stay cool. As a pet owner, you are responsible for limiting their exposure to hot weather conditions, keeping them hydrated, and providing as much cool comfort as possible. Paying attention to your pet’s comfort level can go a long way toward preventing your pet from the dangers of overheating. Below are some tips to help your pet get through the summer.
Leave Your Pet at Home
Don’t take your pet to the store with you and leave them in your car during the heat of the day. Even if you think you will only be a few minutes, that is enough time for your car to get hotter and hotter and your pet will suffer from overheating. Do not risk a fine or putting your pet in danger — just leave them at home for their own safety.
If you plan to take your pet for a walk, be aware that asphalt and concrete absorb heat from the sun, causing these surfaces to become uncomfortably hot. Dog and cat paws are easily burned, so we recommend waiting until dusk or early evening to take a long walk. If daytime is your only available walking time, we encourage you to find a grassy surface or dirt path during the heat of the summer.
Trim but Don’t Shave a Coat
Pets with long or thick coats typically get the most uncomfortable in the hot weather. Getting them a nice trim can help cool them off. However, please talk with your groomer about how to shave the coat down because your cat or dog needs protection from the sun.
Animals are also susceptible to sunburn and suffer the same discomfort as humans. Frequent and repeated sun exposure without applying sunscreen or protective coating can eventually lead to skin cancer in the burned area. Protecting pink noses and skin with pet-friendly sunscreen and limiting exposure to bright sunlight during the summer is also important. If blisters form, make an appointment with in Portland for further treatment.
Keep the House Cool for Your Pets
Are you in the habit of turning up the temperature on the AC while you are gone for the day? Do not go too far up the dial, as your pets must also stay cool. We understand turning up the temperature a couple of degrees to save on energy costs, but please make sure the house does not get too warm. Your pets need to stay comfortable, too, and they rely on the AC just as much as you do.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Staying hydrated is important year-round, but please make sure your pet has access to fresh water regularly. If you are feeling adventurous, creating a doggy water park with sprinklers, or filling a pet pool may be fun!
Pay Attention for Signs of Distress
It is normal for a dog to pant in hot weather and for a cat to look lazy as they sleep away in the heat of the day. But if your dog or cat is exhibiting any of these following symptoms, they are overheating, and you need to act, get your pet to right away. Please give us a call at (503) 297-2218 when you are on your way.
Signs of overheating include:
- Excessive panting
- Disorientation or confusion
- Rapid breathing and pulse
- Stumbling or staggering
- Bright red tongue
Remember: if you’re hot, so are your pets. These signs tend to be more subtle in cats than dogs, but they are still a sure sign of heatstroke in either species. Don’t overlook their need to stay cool in hot weather and make the effort to give them a comfortable environment. Everyone stays happy and healthy when care is taken to avoid the worst of the summer heat. Please seek emergency veterinary care if your pet is not responding to attempts to cool down their body.