The sun is shining and it’s a great time to head outside with your pet. Or is it? Hot weather poses special considerations for pet owners and it’s important to exercise caution to keep pets safe when the temps start to spike. Veterinarians at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have put together a list of helpful reminders to keep pets cool, happy and healthy this summer.
- Never leave pets alone in a hot car. Temperatures 65 degrees and above can turn the inside of a car–even with the windows open–into a furnace. This kind of heat exposure is detrimental to an animal’s health. So leave them at home or take them inside with you, and be sure to provide plenty of water.
- Exercise your pet during cooler hours of the day and seek shade whenever possible. If the temps are really scorching, keep them inside. Not only can their body temperatures rise quickly but hot asphalt can hurt the sensitive paws of cats and dogs.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with fresh, cool water.
- Pools and other bodies of water may be inviting but always supervise pets. Not all dogs are good swimmers. And don’t forget to rinse the chlorine or salt water out of their fur after a dip.
- Backyard barbeques are a fun way to beat the heat but some of the typical fare served at such summer festivities can be health hazards to dogs. Shish kabobs and other foods-on-a-stick that are ingested could wind up causing blockages or gastrointestinal perforations. Fatty foods should also be avoided as they can be toxic to dogs.
Most importantly watch for your pet’s cues and heed the warnings. Signs of overheating could include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and elevated temperatures. If you think something is off with your pet, call your veterinarian immediately.