If you have lived in South Carolina for any length of time, then you know just how brutal our Summers can be! If you’re outside with your pet and are beginning to feel hot, just imagine how your dog feels whose core temperature starts at approximately 100 degrees. Naturally, we want to be able to include out pets in fun Summer festivities, but it is essential that you are well-prepared to PREVENT them from overheating. Here are a few tips to help keep your furry friends safe during the hot Summer months;
- If you’re on the fence about bringing them to an outdoor event — then don’t. Trust your instincts.
- Make sure your pet is up-to-date on their Annual visit to their veterinarian. You don’t want to expose your pet to anything that could exacerbate an underlying health issue.
- Pets should have access to fresh clean water at all times. Year-round.
- NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. If it’s 90 degrees outside, your car can reach up to 110 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
- You do not need to shave your dog. It seems like it would make sense, but their coats are actually designed to help keep them cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter. Shaving can potentially cause problems such as being more susceptible to sunburn and/or expose them to allergens where their coat would have been used as a natural barrier.
- Save the long walks for early morning or late evening. Avoid walking them at the hottest part of the day – not only can they overheat quickly, but the asphalt can burn their paw pads. Ouch!
- Your pet should always have access to shade when they are outside. They need to be able to move away from direct sunlight. Your dog should not be tethered to a tree or on a chain.
- Your pet does not want to partake in any firework activity. Pets go missing during the Summer more than any other time of year. Loud noises, such as fireworks, can cause them to run away to try to seek quiet shelter. Many dogs suffer severe anxiety with loud noise, so it is best to keep them away from what frightens them the most.
- Most Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Citronella candles and tiki torch products are also toxic to dogs and cat. You can contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you think your pet has been exposed to any type of toxin.
- Signs of a Heat Stroke include:
- Excessive or exaggerated panting
- Mild weakness
- Dark red gums
- Rapid heartbeat
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, the first thing you should do if you believe your pet is suffering from a heat stroke is soak towels in lukewarm water and wrap your pet in them. It may feel counter-intuitive to use lukewarm water, but never use cool or cold water because if the cooling happens too rapidly it can be detrimental to your pet. You can also place your pet in front of a fan to help reduce her body temperature or use cotton balls saturated with rubbing alcohol on the pads of her paws and her abdomen (be sure to not allow her to drink the rubbing alcohol).
After you’ve begun to cool your pet down, call your veterinarian for further instruction. In some cases, pets affected by heat stroke require intravenous fluids, blood pressure support, or other medications depending on the severity of their condition.
For more information, please contact us at 843-884-9838. We hope you and your pets have a wonderful and safe Summer!