Summer is here and we’re sure feeling the heat this week.  During these hot weather months, it’s important to keep your furry family members in mind.  Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat, says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the warning signs of heat stroke.  Symptoms of  overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, even with the windows open.  Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.

When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt.  Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Kiddie pools are a great way to give your dogs some fun and relief from the heat.   If your dogs have been swimming in chlorinated pools, rinse them off to remove chlorine or salt from the fur, and try to keep your dogs from drinking pool water which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating.  If you are going to shave your dog down, never shave all the way to the skin.  Your dog needs protection from the sun and your groomer can advise you how short to go.

We hope you are enjoying the summer and keeping your four-legged friends comfortable and safe.