Dogs and cats are vulnerable to many of the same summertime risks as humans, including heat stroke. Since our pets can actually tell us if something is wrong, it’s important to be aware of issues that could effect them during the warmer months. To help keep pets cool and healthy in the summer heat, here a few summer pet safety tips to keep in mind:
Heat stroke occurs when body temperatures rise to dangerous levels and pets are unable to accommodate the excessive heat, leading to organ dysfunction and death in some cases. Short-nosed breeds have the highest risk of suffering from heat stroke. This includes English bulldogs, pugs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers and Persian cats. Long-haired pets such as Great Pyrenees, chows, Alaskan malamutes and other cold-weather breeds are also at a high risk for overheating.
To prevent dogs and cats from experiencing heat stroke, pet owners should keep their animals in the shade when outdoors, avoid exercising pets in high temperatures, and provide indoor pets with ventilation and cool water. Pet owners should never leave their animals inside cars as the temperature can reach deadly levels within minutes. Pets should see a veterinarian immediately if they experience symptoms of heat stroke, including lethargy, labored breathing and unresponsiveness.
Burned Paw Pads
The summer sunshine can raise the temperature of asphalt roads to a dangerous degree, even when the temperature outdoors feels pleasant. If the asphalt or sidewalk is too hot for people to walk on barefoot, it is also too hot for dogs and cats. If you must walk your pet on asphalt during the summer, remain in shaded areas. Some people will carry their pets to grass or dirt areas, or purchase boots to protect animals’ paw pads from painful blistering.
While dogs and cats can experience a broad range of heat-related injuries, Pets Best offers coverage for a variety of health issues, including for heat stroke and burned paw pads.
Although many canines are strong swimmers, they should always have close supervision and wear life jackets when going for a swim. Pet owners with pools should pay close attention to outdoor cats and dogs when they’re playing near the pool in case they accidentally fall in.
“For dog owners with pools, I always suggest training their dogs to find the shallow end of the pool or the stairs so they can exit the pool safely. This is important regardless of whether you plan to let your dogs swim in the pool. I recall a claim we processed for BooBoo, an English bulldog, who was found unconscious on the pool floor; but thankfully he recovered after an emergency visit to the veterinarian,” said Dr. Stephens, founder of Pets Best. “Even dogs that are good swimmers or wearing life jackets can tire quickly and be put in danger if they can’t find their way out of the pool.”
A few other bodies of water hazards pet owners should be aware of include:
- Exposure to Leptospira, a potentially deadly pathogen found within some lakes and ponds.
- Fishhooks, which can get stuck in paws if stepped on, stuck in mouths, or even swallowed.
- Boats, they can accidentally hit dogs who are swimming in lakes.
Ear infections are one of the top five most common dog insurance claims we process at Pets Best. They are an especially common summertime ailment among dogs that swim frequently. These infections are usually due to water entering dogs’ ears while swimming. Pet owners can help prevent this by utilizing an ear cleanser prescribed by a veterinarian to clean and dry a dog’s ears after swimming. Infections can also be a sign of allergies in your pet, click here for more issues to be on the lookout for!
We hope these summer pet safety tips help you and your furriest family members safely beat the summer heat!