Hot weather can make us all uncomfortable, and it poses special risks for our pets. Keep the following safety concerns in mind as the temperature rises, and follow these tips to keep your pets safe.
Never Leave Your Pets in Cars
The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes! You should never leave pets unattended in a vehicle in the summer months as heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures. If you are taking a road trip, you can keep your pets cool by placing icepacks in their crates. You also want to make sure the crate being used to transport your animals on a long trip is well ventilated. Putting sunshades on your car windows can also help keep the inside of your car cool and more suitable for your pets to spend short amounts of time. Bring along fresh water, a bowl, and a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. For dogs, you can keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on them to help cool them down.
The City of Beverly does not permit dogs to use the public beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Other public beaches in the surrounding area may allow for dogs to be on the beaches during the summer months; you should check with them before you plan your trip.
- When taking advantage of the use of other beaches do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make them sick.
- Always check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions.
- Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish so be aware of your surroundings.
- Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water.
- Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim. If you’re swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water.
- Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with into the water. You should never throw your dog into the water.
- Don’t let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and they may tire quickly.Never leave your dog unattended in the water.
- If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides. If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown.
- Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so be aware of your dog’s activity.
- Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog’s exposure to the sun during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. Human sunscreen can be used on animals or you can purchase sunscreen that is special for animals.
- Always make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water.
- Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog’s coat, so remember to rinse him off at the end of the day.
- Always pick up after your dogs. It is important for the health and safety of the community that all dog waste is picked up and disposed of properly. By picking up after your dog, you are doing your part to maintain and improve the environment.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations and licenses are up to date; according to the City of Beverly Code of Ordinances Chapter 10 Section 4-27 all dogs residing within the City of Beverly are required to be licensed annually. Fleas and ticks, and the mosquitos which carry heartworm disease, are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your dog. Remember to keep your dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers.
Always make plenty of cool, fresh water available to your pets. If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure they have a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in. You will also want to avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days and try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws. The best time to exercise your dogs is in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense. Keep in mind that dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Brachycephalic dogs should be kept inside with air-conditioning.
Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog appears to be overheated.
- Heavy panting.
- Rapid breathing.
- Excessive drooling.
- Bright red gums and tongue.
- Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.
- White or blue gums.
- Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
- Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
- Labored, noisy breathing.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog’s paw pads.
- Apply ice packs to the groin area.
- Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
Do not cool your dog down too rapidly, as you could force them to go into shock! Check your dog’s temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog’s temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process. If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.