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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Tillema

Summertime Pet Care

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Summertime pet care is essential
dog cooling off

Summertime pet care is essential

Summer is a time of fun, sun, and adventure. But with the scorching heat, it's important to remember that our pets need extra care and attention during the peak summer months. Just like us, they are susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration. So, with that in mind, here are some essential tips on how to care for your pets and keep them safe and comfortable during the summer.

Keep them hydrated:

Adequate hydration is crucial for both humans and pets. Make sure to always provide fresh, clean water for your furry friends, especially during the hot summer months. Consider adding ice cubes to their water bowl to help keep it cool and refreshing. Ice has been proven to help encourage animals to drink more. You can add a mineral block near the water source for horses and cattle or even add molasses to livestock's drinking water to encourage more drinking.

Create shady spots:

Provide plenty of shade for your pets both indoors and outdoors. This will enable them to escape the sun's direct heat and help them stay cool. Set up a comfortable area under a tree or use umbrellas and run covers. Inside your home, close curtains or blinds to block excessive sunlight. Do not think a doghouse is an adequate shade; with little to no air circulation, the dog house can become a furnace, becoming hotter than the outside air by several degrees.

Never leave pets in a parked car:

This is an absolute no-no! Leaving your pet in a parked car can quickly turn dangerous, even if it's just for a few minutes. Cars can become like ovens, reaching temperatures that can be fatal to pets and people in a short period of time. If you need to run errands, leave your pets at home so they can stay cool and safe.

Schedule walks and exercise wisely:

Adjust your pet's exercise routine during the summer months. Avoid going for walks during the hottest part of the day when the pavement can scorch their delicate paw pads. Instead, opt for early morning or evening walks when temperatures are cooler.

Protect them from the sun:

Just like us, pets can get sunburned. Areas with less fur, like the nose and ears, are especially vulnerable. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, consult your veterinarian for a pet-safe sunscreen recommendation. Keep in mind that human sunscreen should never be used on pets, as it can be toxic to them.

Consider cooling products:

There are various products available in the market that can help your pet stay cool. Cooling mats and vests are designed to provide relief from the heat. Alternatively, you can also use a damp towel or provide a small pool or sprinkler for them to cool off in. Many breeds love to play in the freshwater. Some double-coated breed owners even add ice to the pool.

Watch out for signs of heatstroke:

Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. Watch for symptoms like excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and coordination problems. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, immediately move them to a cool area, provide water, and seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Protect their paws:

Hot pavement and sand can burn your pet's paws, causing pain and discomfort. Before going for a walk, check the temperature of the ground by placing your hand on it for a few seconds. If it feels too hot for you, it's too hot for your pet. Consider using paw protectors or booties to shield their paws from the scorching heat.

Create a catio or patio retreat:

If you have an outdoor space, consider creating a catio or a pet-friendly patio area where your furry friend can enjoy the outdoors safely. Install a mesh or wire enclosure, allowing them to enjoy fresh air and sunlight without exposure to direct heat or potential hazards. Provide shaded spots, comfortable bedding, and perhaps even some toys or scratching posts to keep them entertained.

Special care for double-coated breeds:

Double-coated breeds, like Australian Shepherds, Huskies, and Great Pyrenees, have an extra layer of insulation that can make them more prone to overheating. Take extra precautions with these breeds during the summer. Keep their coats well-groomed, removing any tangled hair or mats that can trap heat. Consider trimming their coat. Consult with a professional groomer first, as double-coated breeds have hair that acts as insulation and should not be shaved.

Provide indoor entertainment:

Keeping your pets indoors in a cool and controlled environment is best on especially hot days. Provide them with plenty of indoor entertainment options, such as puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, or interactive games. This will help keep their minds stimulated and prevent boredom during the summer months.

Remember, our pets rely on us to keep them safe and comfortable during the peak summer months. Following these additional tips ensures your four-legged friends stay happy and healthy throughout the summer. Enjoy the warm weather with your pets, but always prioritize their well-being!

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