It’s the start of another sweltering summer, and while you want your pet to live their best life, you also want them to stay safe. There are many steps you can take to make sure your beloved dog or cat stays cool, whether it’s in the pool or in the air conditioning. Here’s everything you need to know:
How can I make my house comfortable for my pet during the summer?
To protect yourself from the sun, close your shutters, curtains and blinds, and turn on the air conditioner to cool things down. Experts suggest setting the air conditioning to between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping in mind that small, short-haired dogs won’t get as hot as large, long-haired dogs. Dogs and cats know how to find the coolest place in the house, so when it’s hot, look for them in dark corners or on cool tiled floors.
Always make sure that there is fresh water available for your pet – don’t hesitate to put ice cubes in it on very hot days – and monitor the humidity level. “It’s important to remember that it’s not just ambient temperature, but also humidity that can affect your pet,” said Dr. Barry Kellogg of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals gasp to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which draws heat away from their bodies. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels – very quickly. “
And when they’re out in the yard?
If you have a swimming pool, make sure your dog only enters it under supervision. Some puppies are not good swimmers and can easily get stuck under pool covers. After their swimming sessions are over, be sure to rinse them off so they don’t have any salt or chlorine in their fur. Have fresh water available – dogs shouldn’t drink pool water because of the chemicals – and remember that as the sun moves the shade can disappear, so even if your dog has found a nice place to curl up, it may not always be protected.
Many items found in backyards during the summer, such as candles and citronella oils, are toxic to dogs, so sweep up before letting your pets play. Also, if your pet has to be on the asphalt, put them in booties to protect their sensitive paws from the heat (it’s a good idea to get away from walks in the early morning or after dark) . If the temperatures are extreme, the safest bet is to keep your furry friends indoors.
How can I protect my pets in the car?
Even if you have the car on and the air conditioner running, never leave an animal alone inside a vehicle. When it’s hot, temperatures can soar in a parked car in minutes – the Humane Society warns that when it’s 85 degrees outside, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature can reach 102 degrees outside inside the vehicle in just 10 minutes. High temperatures can cause irreversible organ damage or death.
If you see an animal left in a hot car, the Humane Society recommends going to nearby businesses and asking the handlers to make an announcement to find the owner, or call a non-emergency police line. In many states, there are laws allowing citizens to break the windows of a hot car in order to rescue an animal trapped inside; check what the law is where you live.
What are some of the signs of overheating in pets?
Look for excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, elevated heart and respiratory rate, mild weakness, and a body temperature over 104 degrees, according to the ASPCA. Some animals are more susceptible to heatstroke, including those with flat faces, such as pugs and Persian cats. Other risk factors include being a young, overweight, or elderly dog or cat. If your pet suffers from heatstroke, take him to the vet immediately and try to help cool him down by placing cool, damp towels on the back of the neck, paws, ear flaps, armpits and groin. .
How can I help my frightened pet when fireworks go off?
Some dogs and cats aren’t bothered by the loud sounds of fireworks at all, while others absolutely hate the noise and are so startled they run away. Even if your pets stay indoors, make sure they have up-to-date ID tags and are microchipped, just in case they go on the run, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. You’ll also want to check how secure your yard is, should an unexpected firework go off while your pet is outside.
If you’re going to a party on the 4th, leave your pets at home – they don’t have the same need to ring the bells as you do. They feel safe and protected in the comfort of their own home, and could do better in a crate they can’t get out of; otherwise, staying in a secure room is fine. Do not leave doors or windows open through which they could pass, and under no circumstances should your pet approach a firecracker or a lighted candle.