“Being covered by fur works well in the winter, but it can make it difficult to manage the heat of a summer day,” Both dogs and cats dissipate heat by panting [and] as they get overheated, they pant more quickly trying to maintain a safe internal temperature.
Follow these tips for keeping your pet cool this summer.
- There are two major reasons pets get overheated, hyperthermia and their upper respiratory systems. Hyperthermia occurs when animals are trapped in an environment (like a car or the beach on a hot day) that overwhelms their ability to cool themselves. Pets with compromised upper airways, like bulldogs, or an acquired condition like paralysis of the larynx have more difficulty removing heat in their bodies through panting. These animals often find that, in attempting to cool themselves, they generate more heat through exertion and can fall victim to heat stroke.
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive panting or laboured breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling and mild weakness, seizures and elevated body temperature.
- Pets are smarter than we give them credit for, and prefer staying at home and laying on cool surfaces (like your tiled kitchen floor) in the heat of the day. Save your outdoor time with your pet for early in the morning or in the evening once the sun has set. By taking your daily walk, run or visit to the park either before or after the sun is at its hottest, the air will be easier for your pet to breathe and the ground will be cooler on the pads of their paws.
- If you do find yourself out in midday with your pet, make sure you keep them out of direct sunlight or give them a shady place to get out of the sun. Remember, your pets don’t wear shoes, so the pads of their paws can be burned walking across particularly hot sand or asphalt, If it’s extremely warm, keep them indoors as much as possible.
- “The classic mistake for owners is leaving a pet in a closed car on a sunny warm day when the temperature in your car can rapidly climb to over 40 degrees, It’s solar heating that’s the culprit, so you can face serious risks even on a comfortable day. As much as your pet may love riding in the car or spending time with you, if it’s hot out and there’s a chance they’ll be uncomfortable the best thing to do is leave them home. Panting takes more exertion than sweating and can bring your pet to respiratory distress faster than you think. Avoid any potential issue by keeping them safe and cool at home.
- In addition to overheating, pets can get dehydrated quickly, so you’ll want to make plenty of fresh, clean water available to them. Panting is effective in allowing animals to cool down because it helps evaporate fluids from the respiratory tract. Help replace these fluids and prevent dehydration by leaving out water or water alternatives Like ice blocks throughout the day, particularly when your pet has spent time outside in the heat.
- If your pet is brachycephalic — or has a flat-shaped face — like Pugs, Pekingese, Boston terriers and Persian cats, they cannot pant as effectively and are more susceptible to heat stroke. Be especially careful with breeds like these in hot weather and keep plenty of water on hand. Pets which are elderly, overweight and have heart or lung disease should be kept in air conditioned rooms as much as possible in the heat.