AUSTIN (KXAN) — The intense summer heat doesn’t just affect you — your pets are at risk as well. Just like humans, pets can succumb to heat-related illnesses.
Here are some tips to keep these members of your family safe and cool.
Before the heat
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends taking your pet for a vet checkup in spring or early summer and getting tested for heartworm.
Being or exercising outside
The Humane Society said pets are affected by humidity. If the humidity is too high, they won’t be able to cool themselves properly. For dogs, their temperature shouldn’t surpass 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humane Society also recommends limiting pet exercise on hot days, whether it’s lowering the time spent exercising or the intensity of the exercise. You can also keep exercising in the early morning or evening hours.
Hot asphalt can burn paws, so walking on grass is better. You should carry extra water for your pets on walks.
When your pet is outdoors, they need proper shade and cold water. Ice can be added to the water as well. Humane Society said doghouses actually don’t help with the heat — they make it worse.
A cooling body wrap, vest or mat can also be helpful outdoors or indoors. HGTV has a list of such pet-friendly products you could use online.
Don’t leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle, ASPCA warns. Even cracked windows won’t stop a car from overheating. The organization said even if it’s only 70 degrees outside, your car can be as much as 20 degrees hotter. On an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for a car’s inside to reach 102 degrees.
ASPCA recommends to introduce pets slowly to water since not all dogs can swim well. Pets need to be supervised around pools for this reason. They also need flotation devices on boats.
If they’re getting into a chlorinated pool, ASPCA said to rinse pets off after swimming in the water to get rid of chlorine or salt from their fur. Try to prevent your dog from drinking pool water as well.
Grooming during the summer
ASPCA said you can trim longer hair on dogs, but they shouldn’t be shaved. Dog coats stop them from overheating and getting sunburned. You can also brush cats more often during the summer.
Make sure the sunscreen used on your animals is pet-safe, ASPCA said.
Heatstroke Symptoms in Pets
Humane Society said signs of heatstroke in pets include:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive thirst
- Lack of coordination
- Profuse salivation
- Deep red or purple tongue
Just like humans, the Humane Society said pets are more at risk for heatstroke if they are very old, young or have a heart or respiratory disease. Short-muzzled breeds have a harder time breathing in extreme heat. Persian cats have a harder time panting, according to ASPCA. These breeds should be kept in the A/C as much as possible.
To treat a pet suffering from heatstroke, Human Society said you should move them to the shade or an area with air-conditioning. Ice packs and cold towels can be placed on their head, neck and/or chest, or you can run cool water over them (but not cold). Allow them to drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes.