Summers in Phoenix are brutal and can get dangerously hot. While you likely don’t want to go outside when the temperatures reach the triple digits, if you do find yourself on adventures or outside at all with your pets, it is important that you keep their safety in mind. Summer is a great time to go on fun adventures with your pets, but your dog or cat can get just as hot as you, which can be dangerous.
At Paradise Point Animal Hospital in Phoenix, we offer a variety of great veterinary services and wellness plans to help keep your furry friend happy and healthy. We even offer mobile services, allowing us to come to you on the hottest days! In this blog, we wanted to give you some pet care tips for the summer! Whether you have a dog or cat, be sure to check out these tips to keep your pet safe all summer long. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services today.
Provide Water and Shade
If you plan on spending any time outside with your dog or cat this summer, be sure to always have plenty of water for them and shade, too. Your furry friend could easily get dehydrated during a hot summer day. Pups become much thirstier than we do when spending time in the heat, so it’s always a good idea to bring more than enough water. If you notice that your pup is drooling excessively or their gums are dry, these are signs that they may be dehydrated. Keep your pet’s water dish inside your home full at all times to ensure they can always quench their thirst. If you head into the great outdoors, be sure to bring a water bottle specifically for them! You don’t want to have to worry about sharing water with a thirsty pet.
Shade is also important for keeping your pet cooler and more comfortable during the summer. Being in direct sunlight on a hot day may cause your dog or cat to overheat and could possibly lead to heat stroke. If you can’t find shade while on an adventure, then you probably should try to find somewhere else to explore.
Never Leave Them In The Car
It can be tempting to leave your pet in the car while you run into the store really quickly for something, but you should never leave them in your car, especially in summer when the days get extremely hot. While you may think leaving your pet in the car for just a few minutes is not a big deal, it can take less than 10 minutes for your cat or dog to develop heat stroke while inside a hot car. Do your errands before you take your pet anywhere in the summer or bring them in with you, if possible.
Believe it or not, your pets can get sunburnt. Especially if your cat or dog has short or light-colored fur, they can experience sunburn. Your pet’s sunburn is similar to a sunburn you get, which means that it can be painful and irritating to your pet and may lead to skin cancer. Applying sunscreen to your pet, especially in areas that are least covered in fur (belly, ears, and nose), can help protect them from the sun. There are sunscreens specifically made for animals. While not all pets need sunscreen, it is a great way to protect your pet from the sun. Our veterinarians can help determine if your pet needs sunscreen!
Don’t Shave Your Pet
Many pet owners, especially those who own fluffy dogs or cats, think that shaving their pets can help keep them cool in the summer. However, this is not the case. Your pet’s coat is naturally designed to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Shaving your pet makes them more prone to sunburns. While it’s totally fine to trim their fur, be sure to leave at least a full inch of hair to protect their skin. You can brush them to help remove excess fur from their winter coat to help lighten their coat as well!
Pay Attention to Paws
This is more of an issue for dogs than cats, but you want to be sure your pet’s paws are also protected from the heat. Concrete, and especially asphalt, can get extremely hot during the summer. If you are adventuring through the desert, the sand can also get extremely hot for your pet’s paws. Investing in booties can help protect their feet. Pets heat and cool from the bottom up, which means that ensuring your pet doesn’t walk on hot surfaces not only will protect their feet but help keep them cooler as well. If you drive a truck, it is best not to put your pup in the truck bed when you drive around, as the metal in the bed can get extremely hot as well.
Consider When You Walk
In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of walking your dog. But during the summer, it is important that you are aware of the time of day you are walking your dog. Walking your pup in the heat of the day can be dangerous and cause them to overheat or burn their paws. Try to walk them in the early morning and later afternoon when the heat is less intense. This will help ensure your pup doesn’t overheat and will make walks more enjoyable for both of you.
Keep Parasites Away
Summer months mean more ticks, fleas, and mosquitos. In Phoenix, the pest season is longer than in other places, starting in April and lasting until October. These pests can carry parasites, such as tapeworms and heartworms, that can easily be transferred to your dog or cat if they are bit. They can also transfer diseases like Lyme disease or Bartonella. These parasites and diseases can be extremely harmful to your pet and may even be fatal. To keep pests away from your pets, be sure to get a prescription! It is better to be safe than sorry and pest medication is much more affordable than heartworm treatment and other disease treatment.
Know The Signs of Overheating
It is also important to know the signs of overheating in your pet so that you can get them out of the sun and heat as quickly as possible. A dog’s regular temperature is between 100° and 103°F. A cat’s temperature ranges from 100.4° to 102.5°F. Anything higher can mean that your pet is in danger. While humans sweat to cool down, animals pant and drink water to try and bring their body temperature down. There are some signs that can indicate your pet is overheating.
Signs of overheating:
- Heavy panting
- Dry or bright red gums
- Thick drool
- Wobbly legs
If you notice any of these signs, get them somewhere cooler, give them water right away, and put a damp towel over their body to cool them down. If they are still showing the same signs after a while, be sure to get them to the vet right away.
At Paradise Point Animal Hospital in Phoenix, we know how dangerous hot summer days can be for pets, especially if owners are not aware of those dangers. If you are planning on adventuring or going outside at all with your pets during the summer, be sure to keep these things in mind. It will help ensure that you keep your pet safe and healthy! If you think your pet is overheating or suffering from heat stroke, be sure to contact us right away.