After the cold winter spell, the warm days and nights of summer will be here before you know it. This means lovely sunshine, outdoor activity, lighter clothing, and longer days.
This all sounds good to us, but what does it mean for your pets?
The warmer climate can be harmful to animals, especially if you do not take certain precautions to protect them from the heat. It is easy to get into a routine of doing this and it takes very little effort.
This article can help you keep your animals hydrated and offer extra tips for looking after your pets in hot weather.
Spending Time Outdoors
Walking your dog during a hot summer day may sound like a good idea – to you. It may not be such a good idea for your dog.
You will want to first check the surface on which you are walking. Asphalt, concrete, and other hard surfaces can absorb an incredible amount of heat. Use the palm of your hand to check the surface. If it is hot to your touch, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
Also, you must not leave your pet in a vehicle during the day. The temperature inside the car can become double the ambient temperature outside. Essentially, your vehicle becomes an oven — even leaving your windows slightly open will have little effect on the heat inside. Your animals will succumb quickly to heat exhaustion in a hot vehicle, and this can be fatal.
If your pets are outside during the day, make sure there is adequate shaded space for them to lie in. This doesn’t only apply to our four-legged pets, but also to birds. Make sure the top of the birdcage is covered while it is outside, and place the cage where it can benefit from whatever breeze there is. Also, make sure all of the animals’ water bowls are full.
Importance of Hydration
The importance of hydration cannot be emphasized enough. Your pets need a constant intake of water in normal conditions, and on very hot days, this need increases.
Leave plenty of water in troughs or bowls in several places around the house, where your pets can access them easily. Running fountains or water spouts are also ideal for your pets to drink from, so be sure the animals can get to them. Supplement or replace your pet’s dry food with tinned or packet foods, as these contain natural liquids.
Take plenty of water with you if you plan on taking your pet anywhere, preferably in bottles, and keep this cool. Ice cubes are a handy treat for your pets on hot days, too.
Another thing to consider is the age of your animals. Older pets will be more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so pay particular attention to them.
Heat-Related Symptoms in Pets
Dehydration can lead to heat stroke in animals just like it can in humans. These are some early warning signs to look for:
- Rapid breathing or excessive panting
- Slow, sluggish, or lethargic movement
- Fast pulse rate
- Dry red mouth and tongue
- Excessive drooling
- Erratic walking or falling
If any of these symptoms are apparent, you will need to react quickly. Make sure your pet is moved to a cool, shaded area and give the animal plenty of cool water, but do not force feed the water. Keep your pet calm, and place a damp towel around their neck and under them to lay on. The key is to bring their body temperature under control as quickly as possible, but not so suddenly as to invoke shock.
If your pet is not showing signs of recovery within a short time, or if their condition appears to be deteriorating, then you need to transport them to a vet for treatment. Generally, by the time you have noticed signs of advanced heat stroke, the damage has probably already been done, and time will be of the essence if you are to save your pet.
Your pets rely on you for many things and give you love in return. To lose a pet is always a heartbreaking occasion. Avoiding heat stroke is an easy part of animal care, and constant hydration is your best method of doing this.