Warm Weather Care for Your Pets
With Memorial Day in our rearview, the unofficial start to summer is here! School is out, pools are open, and the BBQ is on. While we at Pet Community Center love to soak up the sun like the best of them, our furry friends don’t always feel the same way. As the temperature goes up, it is more important than ever to pay extra attention to your pet. Whether they’re a Sphynx cat or a Shih Tzu pup, cats and dogs need protection from the heat just as much as we do!
The Signs & Symptoms of Overheating
Make sure you know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. If your pet is experiencing any of these, call your veterinarian immediately for treatment. Cars can be dangerous to pets, especially dogs, and you may not be aware of how hot your car gets in the heat. Here are a few stats to consider:
104°F - the temperature at which your dog can no longer regulate their body temperature.
109°F - the temperature inside your car after half an hour on a mild, 73°F day.
10 minutes - the time it takes for the inside of your car to hit 109°F when it's 90°F outside.
129°F - the temperature your car will reach after 30 minutes in 95°F weather.
'Not long' - the time it takes for your dog to suffer from potentially fatal heatstroke.
So, plan your summer errands around pet-friendly locations or leave your furry friend at home if there is a risk of having to leave them in the car.
(Safe) Fun in the Sun!
One thing all pets have in common: the need for water! Keep fresh, clean water available for your pets at all times. Think of the extra water you drink in the summertime and apply that to your pet. Bring extra water with you for outdoor activities and, if your pet primarily lives outside, check on their water multiple times a day.
Now, like dogs that get their paws on the summer picnic spread, let’s dig into warm weather recommendations!
Adjust timing for outdoor activities. Avoid taking your pets for walks in the heat of the day. And, consider shortening the amount of time spent outdoors in the heat. This will help them from overheating but also protect their paws from hot pavement.
Circulate cool air. Keep fans running or air conditioning on, if available. Show your pets where the vents are in the house so they can go there when they need some extra cool air. If you have the space, you could even set up a fan just for them.
Maintain grooming schedules. Grooming your pet, especially those with long thick hair, makes a big difference. Continue regular brushing and, if appropriate, get your dog a shorter haircut. Consult your veterinarian before shaving your pet as that can make the skin susceptible to sunburn.
Add water to the routine. Water may be for drinking, but it’s also water for playing! Turning the sprinkler on for the kids? Let your pet play along with them. Get your pet their own mini pool so they can be part of the fun.
Create summer treats. Looking for a DIY summer activity for the family? Try making your own summer treats for your pet. Check out a handful of recipes here. Be careful with ingredients and always check labels to confirm they are safe for pets.
Community Cat Care
Community cats live outside and need extra attention in the warm summer months to ensure they stay safe. They may be used to living outside but still require care. A few things to consider include:
Water: Like with our indoor animal friends, water is key to keeping community cats safe. More than enough water is always better than too little. If the cats don’t mind ice cubes, drop a few in their water for an extra cooling treat! And, keep water in shaded areas. Feeding stations are easy to make and perfect for your outdoor friends.
Food: With warmer weather comes insects and other critters, especially in food left outdoors for extended periods of time. Protect your cat’s food from insects by surrounding the bowl with baking soda or a line of food-grade diatomaceous earth without chemical additives. Dry food can be better in the summer as it attracts less bugs, but if you feed wet food try to only leave it out for 45 minutes.
Shelter: Provide shade and shelter for Community Cats to escape the heat. Here is a list of pre-made shelters and easy instructions for how to make one of your own!
TNR programs are crucial in the summer months but have special considerations in the heat, as well. Cats can get heat stroke just like people so take the extreme summer heat into account with your program. Do not leave cats in traps for an extended period of time and once trapped, keep in the shade with a trap cover or, if available, in an air-conditioned space. Never leave cats in a car and don’t place traps on surfaces that heat up, like asphalt.
Your Pet Knows Best
Remember, each pet is unique and has unique needs as the weather changes. Watch for changes in behavior or signals from your pet telling you something may be wrong. If you have any concerns about your pet or how to care for them, consult your veterinarian.
Have your own tips and tricks to share? Comment below or share with us on social media!