FUN IN THE SUN : )
HOT WEATHER SAFETY TIPS
Please visit our previous blog on “4th of July Fun, Safely” for a review of the importance of parasite prevention in the summer and concerns about pets and BBQs. Remember, NEVER leave a pet unattended around a pool. Throughout my practice of veterinary medicine, I have heard numerous firsthand accounts from owners whose pets have tragically drowned in their swimming pools.
AVOIDING THE HEAT
Always make sure that your pets have unlimited access to fresh water and shade when they are outside during hot weather. Pet safe sunscreens can be helpful to reduce sun burns and the risk of certain skin cancers.
When walking your pet during hot weather, take frequent breaks and avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt or metal. Paw pads can be burned and blistered severely. If you place your hand or foot on the surface and it’s too hot to keep it there for 10 seconds, it is certainly too hot for your pet’s feet. Walk pets during the cooler times of the day (such as early morning or late in the evening) and try to stay on grassy surfaces. You can also use pet booties to help protect your dog’s paws.
Heat stroke is a fairly common medical emergency that veterinarians see in dogs in the summer. This condition is extremely serious and can be fatal. Pets left in hot cars or outside with no shade or water can overheat very quickly. Dogs have very few sweat glands as opposed to humans, and primarily regulate their temperature through panting. Some symptoms of heat stroke can include excessive panting or drooling, collapse or convulsions, vomiting/diarrhea, confusion including being less responsive to commands, lack of coordination, and/or elevated heart rate.
Tips from the AVMA:
Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. The temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels, even on milder days. Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival.
If you cannot immediately get your pet to a veterinarian, move it to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight.
Place a cool or cold, wet towel around its neck and head (do not cover your pet's eyes, nose or mouth).
Remove the towel, wring it out, and re-wet it and re-wrap it every few minutes as you cool the animal.
Pour or use a hose to keep water running over the animal's body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs), and use your hands to massage its legs and sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat.
Transport the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
GARDEN AND LAWN CONCERNS
If you use a landscaping service, make sure any chemicals they use are pet safe. Keep fertilizer and chemicals in places where pets cannot access them, and always follow instructions on keeping pets out of treated areas for the recommended time, at a minimum. Certain plants, such as sago palm, lilies, and azaleas are toxic to pets. You can find out more information about toxic plants at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.