The sun is shining, the smell of barbecues fills the air, and everyone's out and about enjoying the beautiful, warm weather....that's right folks, it's FINALLY summer time and the livin' is easy! But while we all enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer months with our fur babies, there are some very important safety tips to keep in mind to help keep your furry companions safe in the hot Indiana weather!
1.) Warmer weather can cause pets to become dehydrated more quickly, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of fresh, clean water throughout the day. When your pets are playing outside on hot, humid days, it’s important to provide a shaded location for your pet to get out of the sun and cool-down. You should also be cautious to not over-exercise them. On particularly hot days, it's best to just keep your pets indoors (ASPCA).
2.) It's very important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of overheating in your pets. These symptoms include: excessive drooling, fatigue, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, rapid heart and respiratory rates, or even collapse (ASPCA). The more severe symptoms of overheating include bloody diarrhea, seizures or convulsions, an elevated body temperature of above 104 degrees, and vomiting (ASPCA).
3.) Animals with flat faces (examples: Pugs, Persian cats, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, etc.) aren’t able to pant as effectively as animals with longer snouts, so consequently they are more susceptible to heat stroke. It’s ultimately best to keep these types of animals, along with overweight animals, elderly animals, and those with respiratory or cardiac issues, in air-conditioned environments as much as possible during particularly hot days (ASPCA).
4.) NEVER leave your animals unattended in a parked vehicle on a warm day. It is currently NOT illegal in the state of Indiana to leave your animal in a locked, parked car with the windows rolled up, however, doing so puts your animal at a significantly increased risk of suffering from fatal heat stroke and other health complications (ASPCA). For more details on the dangers of leaving your furry companions in a car during hot weather, please refer to the following diagram from the ASPCA's website that illustrates the significant health risks associated with leaving animals in the car unattended.
5.) NEVER leave your pets unattended around a pool! Not all dogs are proficient or skilled swimmers, so it’s important to introduce your pets to water gradually and cautiously, making sure they wear life-jackets that are specified for animals if they’re on a boat (ASPCA). It’s also important to rinse your dog off after swimming in pools or salt water to remove salt or chlorine from their fur. Because pool water contains chlorine and other harmful chemicals to your pets, it’s important to keep your dog from drinking pool water (ASPCA).
6.) While it’s perfectly acceptable to trim your dog’s longer hair in warmer weather, it’s important to NEVER completely shave your dog. Dogs’ coats provide layers of vital protection for their skin, helping to shield them from harmful UVA/UVB rays that can lead to damaging sunburns. For your feline companions, brushing them more often is a great way to help prevent overheating during the summer months (ASPCA).
7.) When the temperature is particularly hot, NEVER let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Since their bodies are closer to the ground, their bodies heat up faster than ours, and their sensitive paw pads can be easily burned and damaged when exposed to hot asphalt (ASPCA). On extremely hot days, it’s best to keep walks to a minimum, and if they must be on asphalt for an extended period of time, using paw ‘booties’ can be helpful in protecting their paw pads from the hot asphalt.
8.) With the warm weather comes increased insects and pests. Since many commonly used garden insecticides and repellants are toxic to our furry companions, it’s vital to keep these substances, along with citronella candles and tiki torch products, away from your animals (ASPCA). If your animal ingests any poisonous substance, immediately call our office or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (ASPCA).