Vet’s Tips On What To Do To Protect Your Pet From Summer Heat
It is the middle of July here in north central Pennsylvania. The temperatures outside most days are into the high 80 and 90’s. The sun is high in the sky and very bright. This summer rain is scarce so we are dealing daily with hot humid weather. We can get relief from the baking sun with indoor air conditioning, fans, shaded porches and when time permits perhaps it is a trip to the local swimming hole, the lakes, or swimming pools.
Now let us talk about our pets and for this episode I’m going to direct my focus primarily to dogs though cats are not immune from heat stress.
Pet Fur facts:
* Pets wear fur coats. Shedding helps, but they don’t loose it all.
* Dogs and cats ONLY have sweat glands (we sweat to cool off our skin) “between the toes and on the tip of the nose.”
* Panting is how dogs and cats cool themselves – watch the tongue get bigger and the panting faster as the temperature rises.
* Dog and cat normal body temperature is about 100.5-101.5 deg F
Keeping Pets safe and comfortable in hot summer weather:
* WATER, access to fresh clean water is essential for dogs and cats just as it is for humans and other animals.
* SHADE, Access to shade is very important especially if the pets can’t be inside. Under porches, decks, in barns or garages, under shade trees or bushes are all options. Just give the animal the option to move out of the direct sunlight. Remember also the dark haired animals absorb more warmth from the sun.
* Scheduling walks and trips outside to cooler less sunny times of the day are very important. It will take that slightly overweight older black haired dog longer to cool off and get the body temperature closer to normal than it will for a younger blonde short hair skinny dog – so consider the needs of your pet.
* Grooming a pet properly can go a long way to helping them deal with hot summer weather.
1. Brushing and combing out the excess of hair often shed naturally in the spring is an essential step especially for longer hair dogs.
2. Consider trimming hair on the feet-toes, legs and under the belly and tail. A word of caution regarding shaving the entire dog. The longer primary hair on dogs like the Golden retriever serves a purpose to protect the pet by actually keeping the skin cooler. If you are unsure of whether or not to shave you whole dog or cat I’d recommend you don’t until you consult with a veterinary professional.
More about water:
* If you only have a garden hose or small shallow pool just wetting the feet and under side of the dog is a great way to cool them.
* Unless your pet can get inside and out of the sun please do NOT hose off the dogs back. I have seen dogs backs burned severely when the water is trapped under the hair next to the skin…it boils.
Emergency Warning Signs: When the pets temperature climbs over 104 to 105 you they are in danger of ‘Heat Stroke’ .
* Uncontrolled heavy panting
* Incoherent, perhaps unconscious and not able to get up and respond to your voice
* Temperature will rise about 105 —use a rectal or ear – digital thermometer
If you are unsure if your pet is having a problem or emergency relating to the heat the best thing to do is call you pets veterinarian for guidance and information.
More information on Heat Stroke can by found by clicking the link below.
I hope you’ve found this information and episode of Creature Care helpful.
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Dr. John Weiner
Anchor: Sara Vogt
Produced by Vogt Media
Home Page Sponsors: Pleasant Valley Veterinary Care