The summer months have arrived, and pet owners are looking forward to the activities outdoors that they have planned for themselves and their canine companions. At Animal Hospital in Fairfield, we are also very enthusiastic about spending quality time with our pets during the summer season, and we would like to share some facts and information about how to keep our pets safe when the temperatures rise. When the heat is on, we encourage our clients and fellow pet-parents to read these tips and strategies about protecting our animals from dangerous temperatures and excessive heat during the summer.
Exercise in the Summer Months
Here in Solano County, the midsummer temperatures can be sweltering- sometimes over 100 degrees. Therefore, we must always consider the effects that hot weather can have on our pets, be aware of their vulnerabilities, and continuously plan ahead for our pets’ well-being. Going for walks, jogs, and hikes with your dog is a great way to bond with your pooch and stay active. During the summer months though, it is best to choose certain times of day to exercise with your dog, and also to limit the amount of exercise that you and your pet partake in.
Staying Cool during Downtime
Home Environment- If your pet typically hangs out in the yard or someplace outdoors while you are not home, make sure that your pets always have access to fresh water that has been placed in a temperature controlled area. For example, do not leave water bowls and dishes in the sun because the heat can make the water too hot, and pets will not drink, or the water might evaporate. Also make sure that your pet has a shaded area to retreat from the hot sun. Dogs that are unable to cool themselves down or unable to relocate out of the sun are easily vulnerable to sicknesses brought on by heat.
Parked Vehicles- Never, ever leave your pets alone in a hot car. Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe, but when the weather gets warmer, high temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage- and can even cause death. It doesn't have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside. Here are some facts:
At-risk groups: The Real Hot Dogs
During the summer, it is good to know that certain breeds of dogs can actually be more susceptible and at-risk for experiencing heat-related illnesses. Dogs in the following categories are at an increased risk for heat-related illness:
When It’s Too Hot For Spot
During the hottest time of the year, the most common illnesses that our pets are at risk for are heatstroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are very serious medical emergencies, and symptoms include very rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, and thick, sticky saliva. The dog may also show signs of lethargy, weakness and dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, fast action might save their life-you should seek veterinary care right away.
Depending on the circumstance it may be necessary to try and cool your dog down before you can get to a veterinarian, and this can be done by removing the dog from the hot area immediately, and pouring cool or tepid water (not ice cold) over the animal’s body. For a large dog, a hose may be necessary to get them wet all over. Using ice water on an overheated pet can actually make the situation worse, so make sure you douse him or her in water that is close to room temperature. The additional use of a fan blowing cool air will also help.
When a pet with heat stroke is brought into a veterinary hospital, the first priority will be lowering the body temperature to a safe range, and the animal may be given fluids and/or oxygen. A pet brought to a hospital for heat stroke will be monitored for shock, respiratory distress, or kidney failure.
We hope you can use these tips to safely enjoy summer with your furry friends!
Imagine coming home to this...
This is the result of a "forgetful" owner (Kristina's boyfriend) forgetting to put their dog in the crate while they were at work. In addition to eating the couch, he also chewed the TV remote, some kid toys, and a bag of clothes that were supposed to go to Goodwill for donation. Strangely, he ignored the chips that were left on the coffee table right next to the half eaten couch. Silly dog.
Kristina rushed him to Animal Hospital, worried that he may have ingested a battery from the TV remote. Radiographs showed a full stomach, possibly full of foam from the couch; fortunately, there were no signs of a battery. The next day, Bruiser was luckily able to pass a lot of yellow foam, and some small buttons from the TV remote.
Crate training can help with house training and can prevent destructive chewing when you are not at home. A crate can also act as your dog's "safe spot," a place where they can find comfort to sleep, and feel safe and secure. Also, if a dog is injured, or has surgery, it will often be recommended that they be in a crate to restrict their activity while they recover, so it is very helpful if they are used to the crate already.
Choosing the right crate
Crate training tips
For more information, visit The Humane Society's page about crate training.
Our technicians and doctors write posts for this blog, hoping to keep our clients informed and entertained. We hope you find their topics helpful and fun to read about!