A woman walks her dog during the summer.

Who doesn’t love summer time? We’ve waited all year for hot, sunny days, endless blue skies, and loads of recreational activities to keep us fit, happy, and entertained. The best part is that many pets find themselves immersed in all the season has to offer. It’s important to remember that a pet’s level of fun is directly related to how well they are protected from risk. We’ve put together a few reminders for summer pet safety to keep everyone healthy and safe. 

Mercury Rising

The heat is arguably the biggest threat to summer pet safety. Since they don’t perspire like we do to keep their internal temperature down, pets are at increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

Dogs do sweat a bit through their paw pads, but this mechanism isn’t as effective as panting. Rapidly moving air out and drawing cool air evaporates the saliva on the tongue.

Preventing Dehydration

Summer pet safety hinges on how much water your pet drinks every day. Unrestricted access to fresh, cool water is paramount to their health and wellness. Achieve this by placing water bowls all over the house and backyard. When the water warms or gets slimy, it’s time to clean and refill. 

Try not to allow your pet to drink from community water bowls or standing water pools. Leptospirosis is a real risk during the summer months. 

Made in the Shade

As a general rule, if the ground is too hot for the palm of your hand or bare foot, it’s definitely too hot for your pet to walk on. Asphalt, concrete, gravel, and even dirt paths can cause painful injuries to their paw pads and toes, and can be prevented by limiting walks/runs to the early morning or evening hours. 

If you are ever outside with your pet during the heat of the day, seek lots and lots of shade. Keeping in mind that your pet will continue to keep up with you, it’s vital to schedule timely breaks in the shade with a long drink of cool water. 

Know the Signs

Heat stroke can sneak up on pet owners, and by the time symptoms are caught a pet is in catastrophic condition. The following red flags should never be ignored:

  • Pale or bright red gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Excessive panting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Restlessness/panting
  • Seizure
  • Confusion

Move your pet to a cool location. Apply lukewarm compresses (never cold water, as this can cause shock) to their groin, abdomen, underarms, back, neck, and head. Place a fan on them. 

Heat stroke is a pet emergency. Call us promptly to report your pet’s condition. Depending on the severity, they may need IV fluids, oxygen, and constant monitoring of their vitals

Summer Pet Safety

Additional tips for summer pet safety include:

  • Always dress your pet in a snug-fitting life jacket whenever on or near the water
  • Invest in a pet-friendly sunscreen, and apply to the nose and ears
  • Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle, not even for 5 minutes
  • Stay home when conditions are extreme–better to be safe than sorry!

As always, please call us at  (408) 402-3071 if you have additional questions or concerns about summer pet safety. Our staff is always here for you at The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center.