There’s no doubt about it: Temperatures have been sizzling to crazy levels this summer. So crazy, in fact, I’m starting to think I live in Death Valley instead of Detroit. But can you imagine hanging out in the heat if your skin was covered head to toe in fur? The weather may feel scorching to us, but it might feel like the surface of the sun to your pets!
Here are a few tips to keep your Fido safe this summer:
Don’t leave Spot in the car!
Here’s a scary fact: On a 90 degree summery day, the inside of your car can soar to as high as 160 degrees within ten minutes of being parked. And when your vehicle turns into an oven, pups can suffer from brain damage or a fatal heatstroke in just fifteen minutes. Leaving animals unattended in cars during extreme weather is also illegal in many states, so keep your best friend at home on extra warm days (or find an angry passerby has smashed your window to save your pet)!
Know when your bud is too hot
Since your pet can’t very well tell you when it’s too toasty, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of overheating:
- Excessive panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Increase heart and respiratory rate
Pay special attention to pets who are elderly, overweight, or suffer from heart and lung diseases – it’s best to keep them inside in an air-conditioned environment. They’d say thank you if they could, but slobber and kisses will have to do.
Swim with caution
Sure, many pups are skilled swimmers (they are the inventors of the dog paddle, after all). But not all breeds have a little Michael Phelps in them, so be sure to babysit Fido while he’s taking a dip. After bathing, give the fluffster’s fur a rinse down to remove chlorine and salt that can be harmful if licked off. And when cruising on a boat, your friend will be much happier in its very own life jacket. All the neighborhood canines will be so jealous of your pooch’s stylish, yet safe garb.
Keep hair trimmed
I hate the feeling of hot and sweaty hair stuck to my neck when I’m outdoors. So not vogue! But since your pal’s completely covered in fur, it’ll help him or her stay cool if you keep the strands at a lightweight one-inch length. And what about sunscreen or bug spray? As long as it’s labeled for use on animals, it’s a go. Be sure to dab sunscreen on your pooch’s unprotected areas – tips of ears, skin around the lips, and tip of the nose.
Stick to the shade
Just like us humans, dogs can suffer from spending too much time in direct sunlight and extreme heat. Your best friend needs a shady place to escape the rays after a lap or two around the yard – and don’t forget to keep adding freshly chilled water to the doggy dish!
Be smart on the streets
I’ve seen an egg nearly fried on hot asphalt, and the thought of it against my bare feet sure makes me cringe. Long exposure can also be harmful to your pooch’s sensitive paw pads, so keep time spent on toasty streets to a minimum. You’ll avoid burning his or her tootsies, and minimize heat exhaustion from overexertion.
When in doubt, keep your buddy safely indoors during the dog-days of summer!