When you are a conscientious Pensacola pet owner, the safety of your adorable animal is second nature.
With hotter temperatures and bright sunshine, this summer season presents a few unique challenges that, if you are a fairly inexperienced pet parent, you may not be aware of.
Get ready to dive into summer 2019 with these pet safety tips.
Take Walks at the Coolest Parts of the Days
When the temperatures are at their highest, any sort of physical exertion can feel like trying to climb Mt. Everest. Your pet will struggle with the heat just as much as you do, so it is advisable to save walking and playing until after the sun sets. Another important reason to do this is to prevent your pet from burning their paws. Sidewalks and sand can get extremely hot by the middle of the day and can burn your pet's paws in a matter of minutes. Check the temperature using your own foot or hand. If you can't comfortably leave your own skin against the ground for more than 5 seconds, it is too hot for your pet.
Don't Leave Your Pet in a Vehicle
Despite this being fairly common knowledge, many owners still underestimate the dangers involved with leaving your pet in a car, especially during the summer months here in Pensacola. Leaving your pet in a hot vehicle puts them at risk of suffering from heatstroke and slipping into a coma in under 10 minutes. Believe us when we say that parking in the shade or leaving the windows open won't make a difference.
Monitor How Much Your Pet Is Drinking
You probably don't give a great deal of thought to exactly how much your pet is drinking on a day-to-day basis, but it is important to monitor this more closely in the summer months when dehydration is a very real risk. Dehydration occurs when your pet is losing more water than they are consuming, leading to their cells, which rely on water to function, being compromised. Dehydration can quickly become serious so it's essential to give them constant access to water and monitor how much they drink. It's also important to understand the signs of dehydration which include:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry, pale gums
- Severe panting
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Struggling to or inability to urinate
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, don't delay in seeking veterinary advice.
Watch Them in the Water
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your pet taking a dip in the pool, a nearby lake, or river, but you shouldn't let them swim unsupervised. Even if they have a strong doggy paddle, the water can be unpredictable, and pets become more lethargic than usual when trying to swim in the heat. Consider investing in a life vest to maintain their buoyancy making it easier for them to enjoy a leisurely swim in the cool water. If your pet isn't one for swimming, you can still help them to cool off by using a sprinkler or placing them in the shower.
If You Have Small Pets, They Need to Be Kept Cool Too
Smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can overheat just as quickly as larger ones. Make sure your pet's cage isn't in direct sunlight and they have plenty of shade to relax in. If your pet's cage is in a conservatory, take it out as this will cause them to get too hot. Be sure to give them access to plenty of clean, cool water during the day and leave a glass jar filled with ice cubes so that they have something to lie against in the hot weather.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Although you are taking active steps to prevent your pet from suffering from heatstroke, it is valuable to know the signs so that you can get veterinary support in the event that you need it. Some of the primary signs of heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Extreme salivation with thick drool
- Rapid heartbeat
- Severe lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea
If you would like more advice and support on pet safety this summer, don't hesitate to contact our veterinary experts at Safe Harbor Animal Hospital in Pensacola, FL by calling (850) 476-5571.