Summer heat and sunshine is a serious issue for our dogs and cats, which depend on us to keep them protected.
For example, did you know dogs and cats can get sunburned? Or that short-nosed dog breeds have more trouble cooling down through panting? Or that shaving your dog’s coat may be more harmful than not? Here are a few tips to consider to keep your pet comfortable in the summer heat.
- Sunburn: Animals need sun protection on their sensitive areas such as the tips of their ears, their noses and other areas exposed to sunlight. Pets with pink skin or light-coloured coats can be vulnerable. Staffordshire Terriers, Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and Chinese Crested are among the breeds prone to sunburn. Apply pet-friendly sunscreen — not zinc oxide-based treatments, which are toxic — about half an hour before exposure.
- Panting is cooling: It’s well known that dogs and cats don’t sweat. They eliminate heat through their respiration. Short-nosed dog such as Pugs and Bulldogs tend to be more vulnerable to heat stroke. Panting can mean that it's incredibly important for your dog to stay hydrated in warm weather. If your dog overheats, there are a number of indicators to be aware of. Heat stroke signs include excessive or exaggerated panting, lethargy, weakness, drooling, high fever, dark red gums, rapid heartbeat, unresponsiveness to surroundings and vomiting.
- Overheating cars: A Stanford University study showed that the temperature within a car increases by over 5°C within an hour, no matter the ambient temperature outside of the vehicle. For this reason, you shouldn't leave your pet in the car, even for a few minutes.
- Avoid hot surfaces: Hot pavements, beaches and other surfaces can severely injure your pet’s paw pads. You might be surprised how often vets diagnose this injury. The rule of thumb is simple: If the surface is too hot for you to handle barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog.