Summertime is here, which means it's time to soak up the sun and enjoy some outdoor activities with our furry friends. However, warm weather also brings a unique set of challenges for pet owners. As a veterinarian, it's your responsibility to provide your clients with essential summer pet care tips that will keep their four-legged companions healthy and happy throughout the season. In this blog post, we'll share some valuable insights on how you can help pet owners navigate the hot weather safely and ensure their pets are well looked after during summertime fun!
The Basics of Summer Pet Care
As the weather gets warmer, it’s important to take some extra steps to make sure your pet stays healthy and comfortable all summer long. Here are a few tips from our veterinarians:
1. Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water. In hot weather, they may need more water than usual so check their bowl often and top it off as needed. You might also want to consider adding a little bit of electrolytes to their water if they seem particularly thirsty or are going on longer walks or hikes.
2. Avoid Hot Pavement
Hot pavement is one hazard pet parents often overlook in the summer. The pavement can get incredibly hot, making it painful for your pet to walk on. Put your hand on the pavement for a quick temperature test – if it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for them! Try to stick to grassy areas and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day. If you must walk on pavement, put booties on their feet or carry them.
3. Protect Their Skin and Coat
Pets can get sunburned just like people! If you have a short-haired breed or a breed with light-colored fur, consider applying sunscreen before taking them outside (be sure to use one that’s safe for pets). You can also try giving them a doggy sweater or t-shirt to wear
Common Health Concerns During the Summer Months
As the weather warms up, it's important to be aware of the health concerns that may arise for your pet during the summer months. Here are some common issues to look out for:
Pets can suffer from heatstroke if they are left in a hot environment or exercised too strenuously in warm weather. Signs of heatstroke include panting, drooling, vomiting, and collapse. If you think your pet has heatstroke, immediately move them to a cool area and provide fresh water. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Pets with lighter-colored fur or skin can get sunburned, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Use pet-safe sunscreen on vulnerable areas like the nose, ears, and belly.
Seasonal allergies are common in both people and pets. symptoms include itchiness, runny eyes, and sneezing. If you think your pet has allergies, talk to your veterinarian about treatment options.
Fleas and ticks:
These pesky parasites are more prevalent in warmer weather. Prevent them by using a monthly flea/tick preventative medication prescribed by your vet. Check your pet regularly for signs of fleas or ticks (including scratching, biting at the skin, or hair loss).
Tips for Keeping Pets Cool and Safe in Hot Weather
The summer heat can be tough on our pets. Here are some tips to help keep them cool and safe:
Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pet to drink. Add ice cubes to the water bowl to help keep it cooler longer.
If possible, keep your pet indoors during the hottest hours of the day. If they must be outdoors, make sure they have a shady spot to escape the direct sun.
Apply pet-safe sunscreen to exposed areas of your pet's skin, like their nose and ears. Reapply as needed throughout the day.
Consider investing in a cooling mat or bed that can help your pet stay cool when temperatures rise. These products are filled with gel or water and can be placed in your pet's favorite resting spot.
Take your dog on shorter walks during hot weather, and avoid pavement or blacktop that has been heated by the sun. Stick to grassy areas instead.
By following these tips, you can help your pet stay cool and safe all summer long!
Dealing with Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes
As the weather gets warmer, we start to see more fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. These pests can carry diseases that can be harmful to your pets, so it’s important to take steps to protect them.
Here are some tips for dealing with fleas, ticks and mosquitoes:
Keep your pet’s environment clean. This will help to reduce the risk of infestation.
Vacuum regularly, and wash bedding and pet blankets in hot water often.
Use a pet-safe insecticide in your home and yard to help keep these pests away from your pet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully.
Talk to your veterinarian about using a topical or oral flea and tick preventative on your pet. There are many different products available, so find one that is right for your pet.
Mosquitoes can carry heartworm disease, which is deadly to dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about using a mosquito preventative year-round if you live in an area where mosquitoes are common.
Sunburn Prevention for Animals
As the weather gets warmer, it's important to be mindful of your pet's sun exposure. Animals can get sunburned just like humans, and it can be just as painful for them. Here are some tips to prevent your pet from getting sunburned this summer:
Make sure they have access to shade at all times when outdoors.
Apply pet-safe sunscreen to exposed areas, like the nose, ears, and belly.
Avoid taking your pet out during the peak hours of sunlight (10am-4pm).
If your pet does get sunburned, cool the area with a damp cloth and contact your veterinarian for further treatment.
How to Adapt to Heat When Traveling With Your Pet
When the weather outside is hot and humid, it’s important to take extra care of your pets. Dogs and cats can suffer from heat stroke when they’re exposed to high temperatures for too long. Here are some tips on how to keep your pet safe in the summer heat:
Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even with the windows open, a car can quickly become too hot for your pet.
If you’re going for a walk or run with your dog, make sure to bring water for both of you and take breaks often so your dog doesn’t overheat.
When you’re outside with your pet, provide shady areas for them to rest in and give them access to fresh water at all times.
If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, create a cool space for your pet indoors by setting up fans and placing ice packs or frozen towels in their bedding.
Advice on Exercising Pets in Hot Weather
In the summer months, it's important to take extra care of your pets to ensure they stay safe and comfortable in the heat. Here are some tips on exercising your pets in hot weather:
Avoid exercising your pet during the hottest hours of the day, which are typically between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must exercise them during this time, do so in a shady area and make sure they have access to plenty of water.
Stick to cooler surfaces such as grass or concrete instead of pavement, which can get very hot and cause burns on your pet's paw pads.
Avoid strenuous activity such as running or long walks; instead, opt for shorter walks or play sessions in the yard.
If your pet is panting heavily or seems tired, stop the activity and head back indoors.
By following these tips, you can help your pet stay cool and safe while enjoying some exercise this summer!
Hydration Tips for Dogs and Cats During the Summer Months
As the summer heat sets in, it’s important to be extra mindful of your pet’s hydration needs. Dogs and cats can easily become dehydrated in the hot weather, which can lead to health problems. Here are some tips to help keep your furry friend hydrated during the summer months:
Give your dog or cat fresh water to drink at least twice a day, and more if they are active or spend time outdoors.
Add ice cubes to their water bowl to help keep it cool.
Consider investing in a pet water fountain, which will encourage them to drink more often.
If you’re traveling with your pet, bring along a collapsible water bowl and plenty of water for pit stops.
Never leave your pet in a parked car, even for just a few minutes – the temperatures can rise quickly and put them at risk for heatstroke.
If you’re concerned that your pet isn’t drinking enough or showing signs of dehydration (e.g., lethargy, dry mouth), contact your veterinarian right away.
Summer pet care is essential for keeping your furry family member healthy and happy. With the right knowledge and tools, you can make sure your pet has a safe summer season no matter where their adventures take them. By following these tips from veterinarians, you can ensure that your pet will have an enjoyable summer spent with lots of love and attention from their humans. Take advantage of this precious time by being proactive in taking care of your fur baby's health needs so they can enjoy all that summer has to offer!