Pets and Heat Safety

panting dog

A change in temperature can be more than a nuisance; it can be dangerous. Pet owners must be vigilant about keeping dogs and cats out of situations in which they will suffer from extreme heat. Pets who are left to brave great heat or cold may become gravely ill or worse. Luckily, there are some simple tips to remember to keep dogs and cats healthy even when the weather is less than ideal.

Extreme Heat 

panting dog
Hot weather brings the danger of dehydration and heatstroke

Hot weather is difficult for pets and their owners alike. Some dogs prefer to be outside much of the day, even when the temperature inches higher. A dog that would rather spend the day in a fenced back yard than a cozy den should be offered ample shade and plenty of cold water that is regularly refreshed.

A cat that is allowed to wander in and out should also be given access to cold water. An automatic water fountain is a good investment for fresh, purified water that stays cold.

An often forgotten issue with hot weather is the temperature of streets, sidewalks and patios. A dog going for a walk may suffer from blisters on exposed paws. Avoid this by sticking to soft grass or investing in booties that can be worn on these excursions.

Each year, animal companions are left in hot cars while their owners see movies, eat at restaurants or run errands. These pets can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration and can even die. Even in a parked car with a cracked window, the temperature quickly rises when the sun is beating down on the glass and steel of the vehicle. Within 10 minutes, even on relatively mild days, the sun can cause the temperature in an automobile to reach triple digits. For the safety of all animals, it is wise to keep them at home if they must be left in a car for more than a minute or two. In fact, if they need to be left in a car at all, and cannot be left at home, it is wise to consider using a doggy daycare.

Extreme Cold

A lot of attention is given to the dangers of the sun in times of hot weather. Cold temperatures can be just as serious. Animals can suffer from frostbite or hypothermia if left in the cold too long. This is especially true when there is moisture in the air or on the ground.

To keep animals safe in the winter months, be sure they are indoors as much as possible. Dogs wanting to remain outside more than their owners may like should be offered a personal shelter with warm blankets. Electric heating pads made for the outdoors are an excellent choice for those companions who refuse to come in from the cold. However, the best option is to try to coax animals inside when temperatures are extreme.

As with the summer months, safety must be a priority when keeping animals in cars in the winter. It is never a safe choice to leave a car alone in a parked car for a significant amount of time. Dogs that are left in cold vehicles can get just as cold as those who are left outside. A better alternative is to leave animals in the care of someone who can be certain they are always comfortable and healthy. Pet daycare, for canines and felines, is an option that busy pet owners should strongly consider any time a busy schedule interferes with safety and security.