Summer is here, and nothing is better than good weather and spending time with your pet. While summer offers infinite possibilities to share adventures with your furry pal, this season poses hazards that put your pet’s wellbeing at risk. Our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team provides the tips you need to enjoy a pet-safe summer with your four-legged friend. 

#1: Provide shade and water for your pet

The summer heat affects your pet as much as it affects you. Your pet relies on you to keep them cool when temperatures skyrocket. Hydration is critical for your pet’s overall health, and because they must pant more to regulate their body temperature, your furry pal loses more water during hot weather. Ensure your pet always has access to cool, fresh water indoors and outdoors. Wherever you go with your pet, bring a portable water bowl and clean water to ensure you can always quench your four-legged friend’s thirst.

#2: Avoid overgrooming your pet

Many pet owners share the common misconception that shaving their pet’s fur helps keep their four-legged friend cool during the summer. However, a pet’s coat plays an important role in temperature regulation and protection against sunburn. Rather than shaving your pet, brush them regularly to remove excess fur and keep their coat healthy during the summer’s high temperatures. 

#3: Use pet-friendly sunscreen

Pets, especially those who have light-colored or thin coats, have a sunburn risk. Certain areas of a pet’s body, such as their nose, ears, and underbelly, are particularly vulnerable to sunburn because they have less fur coverage, and the fur is thinner. Applying a pet-safe sunscreen can help protect these vulnerable areas from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, not all sunscreens are safe for pets. The ingredients, such zinc oxide, found in sunscreens intended for people can be toxic if your pet ingests them. Choose a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for pets, and consult with your veterinarian if you need recommendations. 

#4: Stay off hot surfaces with your pet

Paved surfaces, especially dark surfaces, absorb heat on sunny days and can easily burn your pet’s sensitive paw pads. If pavement, asphalt, or sand is too hot for you to place your hand comfortably on the surface for several seconds, it’s also too hot for your pet’s paws. To prevent your pet’s paws from blistering, walk on the grass when possible. To protect their paws from heat-related injuries, outfit your pet with booties, or apply a breathable paw wax to their footpads. 

#5: Protect your pet from pesky parasites 

Many parasites, including fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites, thrive during warmer months. Parasites are more than a nuisance. They feed off your pet’s blood and tissues, transmitting debilitating diseases that can be life-threatening. Protect your pet from parasitic disease by ensuring they receive parasite preventives year-round. Multiple preventive products are available, including chewable tablets and topical applications, and your veterinarian can recommend the most effective protection for your pet. 

#6: Practice water safety with your pet

Outdoor water activities are a great way to stay cool and comfortable when the summertime temperatures skyrocket. While your pet may be a strong swimmer, drowning is always a possibility. Whether your dog prefers to dip their paws or dive right into a pool or lake, always supervise your pooch near water. In addition, keep your dog out of deep water unless they are wearing a safety vest. 

#7: Know heat exhaustion and heatstroke signs in pets 

High temperature and humidity levels pose an overheating risk to your pet. Heatstroke can cause serious long-term effects and, in some cases, death. When enjoying the summer season outdoors with your pet, monitor them for overheating. To prevent your pet from organ damage, begin immediate at-home cooling treatment at heatstroke’s first signs, which may include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy  
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Staggering 
  • Brick-red gums
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

If your pet exhibits any of these signs, head indoors immediately, and begin cooling treatment. Run cool water over your pet and direct a fan toward their face. Stop the cooling treatment once their body temperature lowers to 103 degrees, and immediately bring your pet to Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic for evaluation.

With preparation, you can keep your pet cool, safe, and healthy during the hot summer months while enjoying outdoor adventures together. Start the summer off right by ensuring your pet receives their parasite preventive medications and scheduling an annual wellness visit with our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team.