Summer 2009 is at long last upon us and nothing makes a summer adventure more enjoyable than having our beloved four-legged companions in tow! However for animals, the summer heat can be quite uncomfortable as our furry friends are covered with fur and walk directly on hot surfaces that can severely effect their body temperature.
To help keep our critters safe and comfortable all summer long, check out the following tips, ideas and products to keep summer from being a bummer for our pets!
1. Car Heat: Avoid heat exhaustion and DO NOT leave your pet alone in the car during the remotely warm weather. During warm weather the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you're parked in the shade with the windows opened a little. Pet owners that carelessly leave their pets unattended in a hot car are now subject to hefty fines and possibly jail-time, so don't even think about it!
2. Let the Fur Fly: Dogs with extremely thick or long fur should be trimmed during the hot summer months. Regular use of a deshedding tool, such as the FURminator deshedding tool can remove tremendous amounts of undercoat hair.
3. Creative Cooling: Water or gel-filled cooling mats or cooling vests are great for dogs that are kept outside or if you do not have air conditioning in your home. As well, an elevated pet bed can help keep pets cool and comfortable and the raised sleeping surface keeps your dog off the hard ground, away from bugs and has an added bonus of great air circulation
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets so they can stay cool. Be aware that water will vaporize on extremely hot days. Collapsible Water Bowls and Gulpy Water Bottles are convenient portable water sources for your pet, especially if you're on the road. As well, the new ASPCA doggie travel water bottle can help you both hydrate and save lives...I'll drink to that!
5. Exercise at Dusk & Dawn: Pets need exercise, but on very hot days it is best to limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt and beach sand gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. Consider protective booties to protect sensitive paws from hot pavement.
6. Avoid Sunburn: Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen his or her nose and ear tips. Especially pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears.
7. Be aware of the Signs of Heat Exhaustion: Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue are all signs of possible heat exhaustion. What to do: Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or immerse them in cool (not cold) water. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and consider taking them directly to a veterinarian.
Do you have some favorite tips to share to help our pets beat the heat? I welcome you to share them with fellow pet parents in the comments below!