Hot weather tips to keep your pet safe
Dogs, like people, feel the heat so it is their human companion’s job to ensure that they are safe and comfortable in any extreme weather. Our pets are valued and loved members of the family for which we are responsible. If we live in a hot climate or during the summer months, we need to keep our pets safe from the heat. Here are some tips on how to do this.
Dogs, just like their human companions, can become sunburned which is uncomfortable for them and can lead to damaged skin or skin cancer. Use a sun block that is at least SPF 15 on their sun-sensitive areas such as ears and nose and dogs with short hair and exposed or fair skin. Apply this at least fifteen minutes or more before your pet goes outside, as this makes the sun block more effective.
This is extremely important during the high sun times, which are between ten a.m. and four p.m. Speak to your vet if the sun block contains zinc oxide, as some experts feel you should not use this on dogs. If your pet does get sun burned, giving them an oatmeal bath or using aloe vera products sometimes helps but always contact your veterinarian.
We have all read in the newspaper about pets left alone in a car during hot weather. People mistakenly believe that parking in the shade or leaving the windows down will prevent the inside of the car from heating up. Unfortunately, many people have learned too late that this is just not true. Never leave your pet in a parked car, as within minutes the inside temperature can reach over a hundred degrees, even in balmy weather. In an emergency only where you must leave your pet in the car for a few minutes you should:
- Leave the car air conditioner running
- Make sure you can see your car so you know it is still running
- Put the emergency brake on
- Make sure the dog cannot reach the car controls
- Lock the doors but take an extra key with you
- Leave fresh, cool water out for the dog
If you ever do see a dog or pet trapped inside a car on a hot day, immediately contact the local police, humane society and if in a shopping mall or store, the store or mall management.
Never let your dog out to play during the hottest times of day, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Take them for walks or out to play in the early, cool hours of the morning or in the late evening. They can suffer overexertion or heat stroke, so exercise and heat do not go well together. Make sure there is always cool, fresh water available. If your dog is not afraid of you spraying them, carry a spray bottle full of water to use on the dogs paws or head if they get a little too warm. Here are a few more tips:
- Concrete, asphalt and other surfaces get extremely hot and can burn your pet’s feet
- Overweight, elderly, longhaired and large dogs feel the heat quickly
- Make sure there is a non-tip water bowl with fresh water and shade available at all times
- Dogs with medical problems such as lung, heart or other conditions and kept inside with air-conditioning
Always remember that you need to keep your dog safe, happy and healthy.