Hot weather tips

How to keep your pets cool and safe

Hot weather tips

Thursday, June 9, 2016 | NHS Staff

We’re not sure why they call these the dog days of summer, because most dogs can’t handle this heat. 

We all know the basics of no dogs in cars when the temps are above 73 but there are other tips for keeping your canine and kitty comfy.

  • Limit exercise: Every year we get in strays that are overheated. They are out on their own, excited, running, and get overheated quickly. Playtime is an exaggeration of this, so keep activity to short 5-minute intervals and make Fido take rest breaks and drink water. Or exercise in an air conditioned space.
  • Watch where you walk: Outdoor summer festivals can seem like perfect activities to attend with your dog. However, hot asphalt and concrete can blister paws. Make sure you watch his movements and get him to grass or dirt if he begins lifting his paws.
  • Use sunscreen: Pets with pink skin and white hair are especially susceptible to sunburn. Noses and ears and areas that don’t have much hair are too. Check with your veterinarian for a non-irritating zinc oxide type sunblock that you can apply 20 minutes before he or she goes outside — even if it’s just to potty.
  • H2O breaks: Bring plenty of water and offer it frequently!
  • Take shade breaks: You may love to sunbathe – but your dog can overheat far more quickly. Move from shady patch to shady patch if your pooch is with you.
  • Ventilation: Dogs need cool air to inhale – to expel the heat of their bodies. So if the only shade that is available is a small closed-in space like a dog house, that won’t keep your pet cool. He needs ventilated shade and plenty of fresh water.
  • Watch for distress signs: In both dogs and cats, this can include panting that lasts more than a few minutes, pacing, increased heart rate, respiratory distress, and lethargy. Get him into air conditioning, apply cool wet towels and get him to a vet.
  • Leave pets at home: They will enjoy napping in the air conditioning as much as a hot noisy stressful day.

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