We’re used to the warm weather in Texas, but as the temperature and humidity rise this summer our pets can face some serious safety concerns. Learn summer pet safety tips for keeping your pet cool and comfortable when the heat is on this summer.
Common Summer Concerns
Overheating – Dogs and cats sweat through their paws, so releasing body heat isn’t as easy for them as it is for humans. If a dog or cat’s body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher, heatstroke can occur.
Follow these tips to keep your pet cool:
- Provide plenty of fresh water and shade for your pet, both outdoors and indoors. Bring plenty of water whenever you and your pet are out walking or playing.
- On hot days, limit outdoor exercise to morning and evening hours and carry extra water (and a bowl) for your pet.
- Direct sun can heat asphalt and dirt to dangerous levels, so try to walk Fido in the grass whenever possible.
- Layers of fur help to protect dogs and cats from overheating and sunburn. Brush your pet’s fur on a regular basis to rid him or her of excess hair without exposing the skin to the sun’s rays.
- Never leave your pet inside a parked vehicle, even with the windows cracked or parked in the shade. On a warm day, the temperatures inside a parked car can skyrocket in minutes and the animal left inside can quickly succumb to the devastating effects of heatstroke, which include irreversible organ damage or death.
High-Rise Syndrome – Cats fall out of unscreened windows often enough that the complaint has it’s own name: high-rise syndrome. Cats can suffer serious injury or death due to high-rise syndrome. Prevent a dangerous situation for your cat by keeping all open windows securely screened and making sure adjustable screens are tightly wedged into window frames.
Party Time – In pet-friendly Austin, four-legged friends are generally in attendance at backyard barbeques and parties. With a bit of foresight, you can keep your pet safe at your outdoor social events this summer:
- Many foods commonly found at parties can be toxic to pets. These include onions, avocados, grapes, chocolate, and alcohol. Make sure your pet is not sneaking table scraps or getting into the garbage.
- ‘Pets are curious! Keep garbage and uneaten food covered and keep grilling items such as lighter fluid and charcoal away from pets as these can be extremely irritating to the gastrointestinal tract if eaten.
- Even the most well behaved pet can slip out through a gate or back door left open during the commotion of a party. Properly fitting collars with ID tags and, even better, a registered microchip with up-to-date contact information will go a long way toward reuniting you with your pet should he or she go missing.
Special Concerns Senior Pets
Take extra care to protect your senior pet from conditions that could cause dehydration or overheating. Older dogs and cats aren’t able to regulate their body temperature as effectively as younger animals. Exercise is important, but be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your older pet to rest indoors where it is cool and comfortable.
With a little bit of planning and common sense, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and fun summer together.