Summer Safety: Hot Tips For Cool Pets
Time to let the dogs out – it’s Summer! Whether a walk in the park, a weekend at the lake or that long-awaited trip to the beach, your pet is probably ready for some outdoor fun in the sun. Here are a few tips to consider to help you and your pet have a happy and safe summer together.
Cool Dogs Get Hot, Too
Summers in Alabama can go from warm and comfortable to heatstroke danger in no time. Because dogs sweat through their paw pads, heatstroke can be a real danger if they get too hot. While senior pets are at a higher risk due to other compromised conditions, all pets should be carefully monitored while outside during the hot, humid summer weather.
Here are some preventative measures to keep your pet cool and safe.
- Provide plenty of fresh, cool water
- Offer shade areas away from direct sunlight
- Limit outside exposure and exercise
- Watch for signs of heatstroke (e.g., elevated breathing rates, dry or sticky gums, abnormal gum color, bruising in the gums, lethargy or disorientation, seizures
Never leave your pet alone in a hot car and without air conditioning – Not even for a minute!
- Keep them off hot pavement. If it’s too hot for you to touch with the back of your hand – it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
Spot Has A Hotspot
Hotspots are localized areas of skin inflammation and bacterial infection that are usually triggered by scratching, licking, or chewing the affected area. While not limited to the hot weather, hot spots are more likely to occur during warm weather and periods of high humidity. Breeds with thicker coats like Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers are predisposed to developing hot spots. Hotspots can be easily recognized by areas of redness, swelling, and loss of hair. They most often are seen on the head, limbs, and hips.
The best way to avoid hotspots is through parasite prevention, treatment of skin infections, and management of allergies. Good hygiene and regular grooming can help your pet reduce their risk of hotspots. If they swim or bathe at home, make sure their coat is thoroughly dried.
Hotspots are itchy and painful. If you notice the signs of hotspots, bring your pet to the clinic for treatment. Most dogs will improve quickly if treatment occurs as soon as a problem is noticed.
Fun In the Sun
Hot summer days don’t have to mean no fun for Fido. Pets can still enjoy their day in the sun with a little help from their parents. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pet active and happy this summer.
- Pool Paw-ty – an inexpensive plastic pool can do wonders for your pet during the hot days of summer. Fill it up and watch the fun.
- Sprinkler Fun – Make watering the lawn more fun by adding a few runs through the sprinkler with your dog. Add a ball and the fun just went to another level!
- Cool Treats – pets love a cool treat. Try a yogurt pup-sicle. Reward him with this easy frozen mixture of peanut butter, banana, and yogurt.
- Park It – An evening run or walk in the park may just be what your pet needs to stretch those legs and get some fun alone with you.
We hope these tips help your pet have a safe and happy summer of tail-wagging fun. For more information please call the clinic for an appointment at (205) 967-7383.
Have a great summer!
Julie Grimes, DVM