PO Box 73332, Washington, DC 20056
+1 202-232-7387

Beat The Heat & Humidity: Summer Pet Care Tips

summer pet care tips

Whether it’s already summer or just feels like it, here are important summer pet care tips to keep your dogs and cats safe and healthy:

  • Heatstroke: Overheating is the primary concern for dogs and cats during the summer, and heatstroke – or hyperthermia – can occur when a pet’s temperature reaches 104°F or higher. Heatstroke can be fatal, and dogs are particularly susceptible, but is preventable if caught and treated in time.
  • Flat-faced pets: Pets with short muzzles – like Pugs, Pekingese, Bulldogs and Persian cats – often have breathing problems. They are more prone to heatstroke since they cannot pant as effectively.
  • The young, elderly and overweight: Older pets, puppies, overweight animals and those with heart, lung or other medical problems face a higher risk of overexertion and overheating. They should be kept out of the sun and heat as much as possible, and watched closely for signs of heatstroke.
  • The car: Leaving your pet in the car – even with the windows cracked – can cause heatstroke, organ damage and death. Never leave your pet in the car even in slightly warm weather or for short periods of time, since the temperature in a mostly closed car rises very quickly. If you’re going someplace where you can’t take your pet, leave her at home with a trusted Peep!
  • Cool-off opportunities: Fans, ice cubes in water bowls and pupsicle or catsicle treats are great ways to cool your pet. Do not rely primarily on fans, however, since they are less effective at cooling pets than people.
  • Cool spots indoors: Air conditioning creates an ideal escape from the summer heat for both pets and humans alike, but if you don’t have air conditioning, give your pet access to cool spots in your home –  like tiled floors and rooms that do not get much sun. Make sure water bowls remain full and available to your pet at all times.
  • Outdoor time: A pet can easily overexert herself in hot weather. Counter this with periods of rest between play in combination with plenty of hydration. Schedule walks or outdoor play time in the early mornings – and evenings when the sun has set –  rather than midday. As a general rule, however, pets should not be outside unsupervised for any extended period of time, regardless of the weather.
  • Pavement: Hot pavement can burn paw pads. Take your pet for walks in the morning or evening hours when it’s cooler, walk in the grass, or utilize dog boots or socks.
  • Pet-safe sunscreen: Consider applying sunscreen on your pet’s ears and nose before taking her outside. Pets with lighter skin, and short or thin hair, are more prone to sunburn and skin cancer. Consult your veterinarian before using any sunscreen product on your pets, particularly for cats because some of these products contain ingredients that are not safe for them.
  • Grooming: Trimming long hair can help keep your pet cool, but shaving can do more harm than good. The layers of a pet’s coat helps protect him from overheating and sunburn. Groom your dog or cat more regularly instead to remove loose fur that can contribute to overheating.

Leave a comment