As we celebrate warm weather here in Maine, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of some pet safety tips during these hot and humid days. While you may feel comfortable in the heat, your animal likely is not. Brush up on your pet safety and prepare yourself for the beautiful summer months ahead!
The best place for your pet is HOME!
On a summer day, the temperature inside your car can increase quickly to dangerous levels. Thinking about including your dog at the beach or lake? Be sure to plan your needs in advance, to make stops on the way to your activity unnecessary.
On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can increase by 20 degrees within just 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees. In those conditions, your pet can suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
WATCH: this veterinarian tested heat conditions in a car himself, see what happened >
What do you do if you see a pet in a car on a hot day? Alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call the town’s animal control officer or police department. View a list of our local Animal Control Officers, here.
Fourth of July and summer firework festivities
More stray pets enter shelters after July 4th than any other time of the year. Why? Fireworks.
Fireworks are incredibly scary for animals. And while it may be tempting to celebrate the 4th with your pup, the best place for them is home and indoors, where they feel comfortable and safe.
What about cats? Your indoor-outdoor cats are also easily spooked by the noise fireworks present. So, make it an indoor night for your kitty if you know fireworks are happening in your neighborhood.
Limit exercise on hot days
Limit your pet’s walks and outdoor time on hot and humid days. Adjust the intensity and duration of their exercise dependent on the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Pets with white fur can be more susceptible to sun damage and short-nosed pets (pugs, bulldogs, boxers) can experience breathing difficulty. And remember, asphalt gets very hot and can damage our pet’s paws so choose a grassy or dirt path, if possible.
Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has access to shade to protect them from the sun. Have accessible plenty of fresh, cold water to prevent dehydration. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible.
Pooch popsicles: a summer DIY project!
Just like us humans, chances are your dog enjoys a cool, refreshing treat on those hot summer days too. Try whipping up a batch of DIY popsicles for your pooch. They’ll love the special treat and will likely shower you with slobbery kisses in return (who doesn’t love that?!).
Doggie pools, sprinklers, cooling vests, and more…
It’s amazing the products you can purchase for your pet! If your dog enjoys baths and swims, try investing in a kiddie (err, doggie) pool, dog sprinkler, or even a cooling vest. The possibilities are endless!
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heatstroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, move them immediately into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them and seek veterinary care immediately.