Georgia summers are a time to get outdoors, swim, cook-out and enjoy time with family and friends. Summer is also a time of intense heat. As the temperature rises there are a couple of unique dangers for our pets.
Our pets, especially our dogs, love to take walks with their owners and enjoy the outdoors and the bonding. However, with hot temperatures during the day it can become more uncomfortable for them. The air becomes heavier or thicker, and it can become more difficult to exercise. Most importantly, the pavement becomes extremely hot. It can reach temperatures close to 160 degrees. That temperature can burn and blister pads. Always exercise your pet in the early mornings when the pavement has cooled overnight.
As anyone that lives in Georgia knows, our car seats can get very hot in the summer. With this in mind, think how hot our car is to do that to the seats. The temperature in a parked car can rise very quickly and this poses an extreme danger to our pets. Temperatures as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous, even with the windows cracked.
Animals that are left in parked cars will suffer from dehydration and hypothermia with body temperatures as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point your pet can seizure or spontaneously bleed, and has a strong possibility of dying. If you do leave your pet in the car and they are distressed or non-responsive, seek medical help immediately. The faster therapy is started the better the chance your pet will be able to survive.
The yard is a place where we play ball and allow our pets to run. In summertime it can also be a very hot place. If your pet lives exclusively outdoors or is left outside during the day, make sure there is a shady place. They need a place to retreat from the sun. A tree or a tarp placed over the fence corner will give them a shady place to rest and there will still be air moving around them. Dog houses will shade them but they can become hot from the lack of air movement. Do not rely exclusively on a pet house or igloo to provide shelter in the summer months.
The most important thing to provide is water. Make sure there is plenty of water and it is not in the direct sun. Pets that are left outside will drink more water to keep up with the water that is lost through panting and normal respiration. Also keep these tips in mind if your pet is simply outside to exercise. They will heat up quickly chasing that ball or chipmunk.
When you exercise them keep them on grass and dirt as much as possible, especially during the heat of the day. None of us wants to walk on the hot asphalt with bare feet. Our pets are the same way. As the asphalt holds more heat it can easily burn their pads. Early morning or late evening are good times to walk along the street if there is no alternative. Common sense about what is comfortable for us is great for our pets as well.
As we continue to escape from the heat our next stop is in the backyard pool. Nothing is more refreshing than swimming on a hot day. We will swim and float throughout the day. Our pets may have the same idea. Many of our furry friends will get into the pool to cool off or to have fun with their owners. However, they do not always know how to safely get out of the pool. They see us exiting in the deep end using a ladder. The ladders are not easy for most pets to use. They will then get confused, become tired and can drown.
Teach your pets to swim to the shallow end and exit using the stairs. Also, swimming with our pets should be supervised just like with the children. If your pet seems tired give them a rest.
The water is not the only worry with a pool. The concrete can become very hot and it may burn their pads. Wet the concrete with water if it becomes too hot. Also check their pads for burns or open wounds. If you see any of these contact your veterinarian. Once again, if we do something for our small children around the pool it is a good idea for our pets.
Picnics and outdoor cook-outs are also a very large part of summer. Nothing says summer like barbecue, corn on the cob and homemade ice cream. Our pets, even though they beg and look pitiful, do not need to partake in this wonderful menu. Most people understand when we say our pets do not need to drink beer, but what about the scraps? Scraps are the parts we did not want to eat such as the bones and fat. These things should not be fed to our pets either.
Bones have always been thrown down for the dogs to chew on but what can they do to them? Bones can easily break teeth and they will then need to be removed. They can lodge in the esophagus or intestines and they will then need to be surgically removed. They can also cause bloody diarrhea which will need to be treated by the veterinarian.
Fat and fatty foods are also a great way to end up in a veterinarian’s office. Dogs and cats are not very tolerant to fat and it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms can be severe enough to warrant a stay with the veterinarian. If you feel they need something during the cook-out, feed them their food. They see this as a gift from their owner and it is much better for them.
Pets face several dangers during the summer months and we need to be aware of these dangers. Watch your pets carefully and do not put them in situations you would not be comfortable experiencing.
Now that you are armed with information, get outdoors. Winter is only a few months away.