Tips to Keep Pets Safe in Hot Weather
Extreme heat can also be very dangerous for pets, but following these tips can help keep them safe during the warmer months.
With temperatures predicted to reach the low to mid 90s today, it's important not to forget your furry friends when preparing for the heat.
Dr. Jen Brown of the Lake Orion Veterinary Hospital said in an interview last summer with Oakland Township-Lake Orion Patch that some pets, especially those with light coats and light skin, "are going to be more prone to sunburn," and all pets are susceptible to heat injuries, which she said they see every summer at the clinic.
"It’s just better to provide shade and water and some kind of shelter," she said.
Outdoor hazards are also more prevelant this time of year.
"In the summer time, we see more problems with antifreeze toxicity," she said, adding that it is best to keep pets away from lawn fertilizer, rodent bait and other chemicals.
"We see d-CON toxicity," she said. "With all this rain, snail bait – if people put out things for snails or slugs – that causes liver failure if dogs get that, and it can be pretty severe.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also provides several tips on how to keep your dogs, cats and other pets safe in the hot weather:
- Talk to your veterinarian. The ASPCA recommends taking your pet in for a check-up in the spring. It's also a good time to talk about hot-weather tips with your veterinarian.
- Provide shade and water. Like humans, your pet can get dehydrated quickly in the heat, so be sure you leave out plenty of clean, fresh water and provide shade for your pet during the day.
- Watch for dehydration and overheating. Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, weakness, stupor and even collapse, according to the ASPCA website. In more severe cases, pets can have seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
- Don't leave your pet in the car. Pets should never be left in the car – especially during extreme hot (or cold) weather.
- Be safe near water. Not all pets can swim well, so be sure to supervise if your pet goes swimming. The ASPCA advises pet owners rinse off their pets after swimming in a chlorine pool, as the chemicals in the water can be harsh.
- Watch your pets near windows. According to the ASPCA, more pets are injured during the warmer months when they fall out of windows that either don't have screens or have screens that are not properly secured.
- Give your pet a summer 'do. Shaving your dog's (or cat's) coat down to about an inch can keep them cooler while still providing protection from the sun. Brushing your pet's coat regularly and also help keep them cool.
- Stay off of hot asphalt. "Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn," the ASPCA website reads. "Keep walks during these times to a minimum."
- Avoid using harsh chemicals near pets. Some flea and tick products, chemicals used to kill rodents and many fertilizers – all commonly used during warmer months – can be dangerous for your pet. The ASPCA also advises you keep citronella candles out of your pet's reach. If you think your pet has ingested a poison, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
- Keep table food away from Fido and Fluffy. Many human foods and drinks are hazardous to pets, including alcohol, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol, according to the ASPCA.
- Keep your pets away from fireworks. On top of being dangerous because they can burn or injure your pet, fireworks also contain "potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals," the ASPCA cautions.
To download the ASPCA's PetWeather App for iPhone, click here.