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Summer brings to mind sunny mornings, cookouts, kids out of school and families and their pets playing outside. But it’s important to keep in mind that the summer heat can be deadly serious if proper precautions aren’t taken, especially for family pets. Covered with fur and lacking sweat glands, dogs require particular attention in the heat. Just like humans, dogs experience heat exhaustion and heat stroke under the wrong conditions. To avoid heat-related problems with your pet, we’ve put together a simple list to help you keep your furry family members safe.
Provide Plenty of Cool, Fresh WaterThis is something you should always do anyway, but during the summer heat, pets instinctively drink more to help keep themselves cool. Drinking cool water is the only way to lower body temperature from the inside, so consider keeping a jug of water in the refrigerator to provide your pet some cool relief.
Take Walks and Exercise Early or Later in the DayOften in the summertime, it’s a good idea to avoid the outdoors, especially vigorous activities, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. During these hours, the sun is at its peak and temperatures are the highest they will be all year. Because the sun rises earlier and sets later during the summer, there are many more usable hours while the sun is low and temperatures are tolerable. Summer walks with your dog are a great excuse to get up a little earlier.
Never Leave Your Pet in the CarNever do this! Even with outside temperatures as low as 75 degrees, the temperature in your car can reach 100 degrees in just ten minutes. In 30 minutes the temperature can reach 120! This is more than hot enough to cause heat-related illnesses like dehydration or heat exhaustion in a pet.
Know the Warning SignsPlaying outside with your pet or leaving them outside comes with the risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. To protect your pet, be on the lookout for these warning signs:
- Difficulty walking or standing up
- Excessively high temperature
- Shortness of breath