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Protect Your Pet from the Heat

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2019

While summer is great for pool parties and popsicles, it also brings serious heat. If you are hot, it means that your pet is hot, too, and it’s up to you to make sure they stay safe. So here are some handy tips for keeping your pet cool this summer.

Never ever ever leave your pet in a hot car. 

Not even for a minute. Not even if you parked in the shade and left the windows cracked. Your car can become an oven within minutes, even on cooler days. This is obviously true for children as well. Even with the engine running, this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. If you see a child left alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately. For more resources on what to do when you encounter a pet in a hot car, check out this guide from the Humane Society of the United States. 

Understand how your pet’s anatomy works

Pug Dog on Asphalt

Pets don’t retain or release heat in the same way as humans. Understanding how your furry friend likes to cool off is the best way to help them stay safe and comfortable during the hot summer months. 

For instance, dogs don’t sweat the same way that humans do. Their sweat glands are found in their paws,  which aren’t covered in fur (that way the sweat has the chance to evaporate and do its job). That means if it’s really warm in your house, you might see your dog leaving sweaty paw prints behind. It also means that while  a fan works great to cool you off, it really doesn’t help your dog. Find a cooling bed or mat (they’re easy to find online), and place that in the house for your dog, instead. He will love you for it. 

Because a dog’s paws are relatively small compared to the rest of its body, there is no way that sweating alone could regulate its body temperature. That’s why dogs are always panting- they do it to stay cool. Short-nosed pets have a much harder time doing this, because their head shape can make it hard for them to breathe in general. That’s why you should keep an extra close eye on Boxers, Bulldogs, and Persian cats (among other short-nosed breeds) during the summer, and spot heat exhaustion before it becomes heat stroke. 

Know the signs of heat stroke

The earlier you recognize that your pet is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the better off they will be. Here are a few common signs that your pet might need immediate attention to stop them from overheating:

  • Panting
  • Collapsing or convulsions
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Bright red or blue tongue/gums
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Lack of coordination

If you suspect that your pet is overheating, move them to a cool area, give them plenty of water (don’t force them to drink), and call a veterinarian for assistance immediately. 

So what can you do?

If you take the right steps to prepare, your pet never has to experience heat stroke or exhaustion.

When pets are outside, make sure they have real shade. This does not mean a doghouse, which won’t allow airflow and increases the amount of heat that your dog is exposed to (much like a car). Instead, it means a tarp or trees, which will protect your dog from the sun without restricting airflow. If you are a new pet owner, keep an especially close eye on the area your pet will be staying, as shade moves throughout the day, and you don’t want your pet to be stranded without any shade in the hot afternoon hours.

Whether your Cat in a Shady Treepet is outside or inside, make sure that they have constant access to plenty of cool water. If the heat is making you thirsty, it is doing the same thing to your pet.

Brush animals frequently, but don’t shave them. It might seem logical that if helping your pet shed some of its hair is good, getting rid of it all is better. This is absolutely not true, because an animal’s hair protects it from being sunburned, and acts as an insulator against heat. Instead, make sure your pet is well-groomed and healthy. It will shed the amount of hair that it needs to in order to stay cool, so you can help it out by brushing that hair away, but leave it at that. (This is maybe a good time to mention that dogs with white ears are especially susceptible to skin cancer, so keep them out of the sun as much as possible!)

Keep animals off hot asphalt and concrete. If hot asphalt can melt rubber shoes, imagine what it can do to bare paws. It is important to keep exercising to a minimum during heat waves, so your pet doesn’t get heat stroke, but if your dog absolutely needs to be walked, take them on a route with plenty of grass. 

Let your pet play in water, when appropriate. Remember that not all dogs know how to swim, so leaving them unsupervised near full swimming pools or other bodies of water is a dangerous idea. New pet owners should introduce their dogs to water gradually. That being said, splashing around in a pool or cool bath is a great way to help you and your dog stay cool this summer, and it makes for great bonding time with your pet as well! 

All that extra time in the air conditioning means that your pet is on your carpet A LOT in the summer. Between summer shedding and muddy paw prints, you can have a big mess on your hands in no time. That’s why you need J&G Chem-Dry. We will safely remove pet dander and allergens from your carpeting, and your carpets will be dry in hours. We also take care of pet accidents, so there’s no reason not to bring your furry little guy inside to enjoy the cool air with you. Give us a call today for a free quote, and get back to enjoying your summer in Vancouver!


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