By Dr. Adina Mosby, Veterinarian

We hope your summer is off to a good start! As things start to heat up, we thought it might be helpful to mention a few precautions to consider when enjoying the hot summer days and nights with your pets.

Here are four things you can do to help your pets this summer:

  1. Car trouble. One of the most common causes for heatstroke in dogs and cats comes from being left unattended in a parked car. Cracking the windows does not do as much for your pet as you might think. Studies have shown that the temperature inside of a parked car can increase over 30 degrees in just 30 minutes. On a beautiful 70-degree day outside your pet could be fighting 100-degree heat if left alone in a car, even with the windows cracked open!
  2. Hydration. As responsible pet owners, most know the importance of making sure your pet drinks enough fresh and clean water. This is especially true on hot days when your pet has been extremely active. We don’t want our pets to drink too much water too quickly either, so we always recommend smaller quantities more frequently rather than a full bowl all at once. Ice chips are also a great snack for your pets while playing outside.
  3. Test the pavement or asphalt. Us humans are usually wearing shoes or sneakers when we are outside on pavement or asphalt – but our pets are most often walking around barefoot. Try walking on it barefoot yourself to test the temperature before playing on it with your pet. A standard test, if you don’t want to pull of your socks and sneaks, is to place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t make it for 10 seconds, it’s probably too hot for your pet!
  4. Pesky Pests. Make sure you are keeping up to date with your pet’s monthly heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are always out and about getting into trouble, but our pets are further at risk this summer when spending more time outside [rivers, woods, patios, porches, etc]. Click here to read Dr. Hu’s May blog on Heartworm or click here to read Dr. Plitt’s June blog on Ticks and Lyme Disease.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Panting
  • Bright red gums
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting / diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Please keep in mind that older pets cannot cool down as quickly as they once could

If you are ever concerned about a possible heatstroke with your pet, give us a call immediately at 410.768.3620. Severe cases of heatstroke can be fatal if not addressed and treated right away.

Have a great summer and stay safe.

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