- Humidity may make it hard for pets to cool down
- Pets should never be left inside a vehicle unattended
- It’s best to adjust their activities to avoid the hottest time of the day
Many parts of the U.S. tend to experience very high temperatures during summer, and this can be harmful to your pets’ health.
Just like people, pets are also susceptible to the dangers of summer heat, and the humidity may make it even harder for them to cool themselves down, the Humane Society of the United States noted. With the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world experiencing scorching temperatures so far this season, there are some important things pet parents should remember.
One of the most important tips for keeping pets cool is to keep them hydrated wherever they go. While pets’ hydration needs may vary, factors such as their age, hair type and a history of a heat-related illness may indicate a need for more water than others, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
It’s also important to give them ample shade and to never leave them unattended inside a vehicle “not even for a minute” or even when the air conditioner is on, according to the Humane Society. And while it may seem ideal to give their thick fur a “buzz cut” to keep them cool for the season, it may not be the right move.
“A pet’s coat acts as insulation, it keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer by blocking the heat of the sun from reaching the skin,” Donnie Embrey of the Louisa Virginia Community Animal Response Team said, as per the NWS, noting that it would be best to consult a veterinarian to figure out the best option for your pet.
It’s also important to switch up your exercise or walk schedules with pets on summer days. Apart from considering the temperature and exposure to sunlight, the asphalt can also get very hot for pets to walk on, so it would be best to go on walks during the cooler times of the day and on grass if it’s possible, the Humane Society noted.
Pets, including small pets like rabbits and cats that like to sunbathe, should be kept inside the house during the hottest times of the day, Real Home said, adding that it’s best to avoid activities that are a bit too energetic when it’s too hot.
Another way to keep pets cool is by giving them cool treats or, if they’re okay with it, taking them swimming. If possible, air conditioning would also help to cool them down, and so would providing them with cooling pads. And while fans can help cool people down, they aren’t exactly effective when it comes to cooling pets.
Lastly, make sure to monitor your pets for signs of a heat illness. This could include excessive drooling, lethargy and excessive thirst. Panting, for instance, while normal for dogs, could be “a very bad sign for a cat,” Embrey noted, as per NWS.
Pets exhibiting these signs must be taken to a cooler area, applied with cool towels and given cool water. It would also be wise to contact one’s veterinarian for advice.
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