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Summer Survival for Pets

Summer Survival for Pets

Don't forget your four-legged friends in the summer heat. Keep them cool and safe.

By FamilyTime

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Although they may not complain, if you are feeling the heat, your pet is, too.

Dogs and cats don't sweat as humans do. They pant to relieve excess body heat - and they seek cool shelter and cool water to drink. They also instinctively slow down.

Avoid the Noon Day Sun
Don't leave your dog outside in the summer unless you provide him with ample shade and plenty of clean, cool water. Make sure he can't tip over the water and don't leave it in the sun where it will heat up.

Think about how the earth moves during the day - what is shady in the morning may not be by noon. If possible, keep your dog inside when you're not home.

Your dog may dig a hole in the moist earth to lie in. This is his way of cooling down. If inside the house, he may seek a tile or slate floor. You might be surprised to discover your dog on the bathroom floor; your cat curled up in the bathroom sink or tub.

Don't exercise your dog in the heat of the day. If you want to take her for a walk or run, do so in the morning or evening. Stay off of hot pavement, which can burn paws. If you pet is overweight or elderly, skip the exercise.

Cats seem to be more sensible than dogs when the temperature rises. They simply refuse to move much -- unless chased or chasing!

Your dog, on the other hand, will try to keep up with you, regardless of what the thermometer says. Do him a favor and curtail exercise.

Keep Dogs Indoors-and Out of Cars
When you go out, shut your dog in the house. Make sure he's in a well ventilated area and has easy access to plenty of water.

Leave your dog at home when you run errands. She may whine and want to go with you in the car, but you're not doing her any favors.

Shutting a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down, is dangerous in the summertime. If the car is parked in the sun or partial shade, its interior can reach temperatures of 120 degrees F in 10 or 15 minutes. This can be fatal to dogs and cats.

Groom Your Pet
Warm weather grooming helps your pet stay cool and healthy. As you brush away matted hair, you lighten his coat. You will also brush out ticks and fleas, which at best are uncomfortable and at worse carry disease.

Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date, too. It's especially important to protect your dog and cat from rabies and to your dog from heartworm.

Keep Your Dog Cool
In the hottest part of sweltering days, hose your dog's neck and stomach gently with cool water. This is particularly important if he seems uncomfortable or has been inadvertently been left in the sun or a hot, stuffy room.

Always make sure your pet has plenty of cool, clean water to drink. You will be surprised how much water even a small dog consumes during a heat wave!

Don't worry if your pet seems "off his food." Offer him food regularly but shift feeding time to a cooler part of the day.

Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
If your dog seems agitated and confused, barks incessantly, pants more than usual, looks anxious, is unresponsive, if his skin feels warm and his heartbeat is rapid, he may be suffering from heat stress, which can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke can be fatal.

If your pet is in distress, call the veterinarian and attend to the dog immediately.

Cool your dog down with a cool water bath or a hosing, concentrating on his neck and belly. Move him to a cool room and let him lick ice cubes (no water at this point). Wrap the dog in wet towels when you take him to the doctor.

If you supply water, shade, and an environment with good air circulation, your pets should be fine, even in the hottest weather.

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