Keep Your Pets Safe!
Summertime is always fun in Texas. Families are firing up the BBQs, swimming, or perhaps spending the weekend going river-tubing. There are tons of activities to keep you and the family busy this time of year. However, with temperatures in the 80-95 degrees range and high humidity for months at a time here in College Station, pets can quickly become overheated faster than you may think. For this reason, we are giving you hot weather safety tips for your furry friends so they are kept safe and can enjoy the whole summer too!
Dangers of Hot Weather and Overheating
The first thing to understand is how easily a pet can get overheated in hot weather. We see too many pets brought into our hospital this time of year from overheating. This can happen at home, during a hike, or even on a short car trip. These are things to watch out for that can signal an overheating problem for your pet.
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Erratic pulse
- White or pale gums that seem dry.
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Confusion, low energy, or sudden lack of coordination
- Rectal temperature of more than 103°F
If you see any of these symptoms, do not hesitate! The sooner you act, then the faster you can bring your pet’s temperature down. Quickly find access to cool water and wet your pet down. Provide them with plenty of fresh, clean, cool water to drink, and call your vet to see if you should bring them in. You can always contact us for guidance on what you should do.
Overheating Prevention Tips
The easiest way to handle overheating is to stop it from happening in the first place. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
- Never leave your pet in the car, even if you think it’s going to be just for a little while; this can be fatal! Per the Humane Society, a car can get up to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes when it’s only 85 degrees outside!
- Keep your pet hydrated by always having plenty of clean, fresh water to drink. If you take your pet on a hike or road trip, ensure to have enough water and a water bowl for your pet. Watch the humidity. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs. Panting takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they cannot cool themselves. Their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.
- If your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun with plenty of shade and cold water. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct airflow. Note: A doghouse does not provide relief from the heat; it makes it worse.
- Keep off the hot pavement as much as possible. Hot pavement can cause overheating and not to mention burned paws!
- Do not shave your pet. Some people think that shaving their pets in the summer will help them stay cooler, but this is not true. Pets’ coats have several layers that are essential to their comfort in the heat. When they are shaved it robs them of this natural cooling system which can lead to discomfort, overheating, and other dangers like sunburn or skin cancer. However, grooming your pet is okay. Grooming will help make their fur more manageable.
Remember that pets can be more sensitive to hot weather and humidity than we are. They cannot tell you when they are getting too hot and overheating. So, it is up to you to take preventative measures to keep them safe from hot weather and know the signs of overheating so you can act quickly. Contact us for more general pet care info or to schedule a visit.
Dr. Kim Stewart, DVM
College Hills Veterinary Hospital
College Station, Texas