By: Cynthia Quezada, DVM
Hot summer days can be grueling not only for us but for our pets as well. Dogs and cats are not able to cool off as efficiently as we can. If it is too hot for us, it is even hotter for our pets. Brachycephalic breeds (i.e., English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih-Tzus, Pekingeses, Boston Terriers, Himalayans, Persians) are the most susceptible to heat stroke. Using common sense and simple precautions can help keep our pets cool and safe during the hot weather.
Plan dog walks for early in the morning and late in the evening when the day is the coolest. Avoid walking your dog on hot concrete, pebbles/rocks and asphalt as this can cause severe burns to the paw pads. If you must walk your dog on hot ground, place protective booties on his/her paws. You can find dog booties at most pet supply stores.
For indoor pets, keep the AC thermostat at a comfortable temperature. If AC is not available, make sure that your home is well ventilated. You can also provide a cooling bed for your pet. Check on-line retailers for types of cooling beds available. If your home gets too warm during the day consider boarding your pet at a well air-conditioned facility.
For outdoor pets, provide plenty of shade and cool, fresh water at all times. You can help keep your pet comfortable by adding ice cubes to their water bowl and by providing a shallow wading pool so that your pet can take a dip to cool off if needed.
Keep your pet well-groomed, brushed and matt-free. If your pet has a long coat, clipping it short will help keep him/her cooler. Don’t skimp on flea prevention. Summer is peak flea season.
Lastly, remember to NEVER leave your pet unattended in the car. Leaving your pet in a hot car for just a few minutes can be fatal.