“It’s absolutely vital for pet parents to pay close attention to their pets during the summer heat,” says John D’Ariano, president of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. “Just as the heat and sun can affect humans, our pets are at the same risk.”
Signs of overheating include lethargy, heavy panting and drooling, bright red gums and tongue, a rapid pulse and difficulty maintaining balance. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog immediately inside to cool down and apply cool, wet towels or rags to their body. You can also let your dog lick ice chips or drink small amounts of water, D’Ariano says. If the signs of heat exhaustion do not subside, contact your veterinarian immediately.
But as you know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Consider these tips, courtesy of NAPPS, for keeping pets safe during hot summer months:
- Apply sunscreen to light-skinned and thin-haired dogs. Pay special attention to areas around the mouth, nose and ears.
- Always provide your dog with fresh, clean water.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of shade when he’s outside.
- Know when playtime is over. Don’t keep your pets outside for extended periods of time.
- Never leave your dog alone in a parked car, even for just a few minutes. Cars heat up quickly and can cause your pet to overheat – a potentially deadly condition.
- Give your pet a trim. The key is to trim, not shave, leaving enough hair to protect your dog’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Avoid walking your dog on concrete or asphalt during extreme heat to protect sensitive dog pads. If you can, walk your pet in early morning or evening.
- Make an appointment with the vet. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and be diligent about applying flea and tick medication.