1) Heat Exhaustion Heat exhaustion can occur in a dog when the dogs body temperature rises to a higher than normal level. This is especially prevalent during warm weather conditions and/or when over-exerted a dog becomes unable to fully regulate her body temperature. Breeds, such as Pugs, are more susceptible due to their smaller air passageways and should be monitored closely for symptoms during these conditions.
2) Never Leave your Pet Unattended in a Car Even during mild seasons, temperatures in a car quickly soar to extreme levels making it impossible for a dog or cat to regain control of its body temperature. During the summer months in less than just 5 minutes the temperature in your car can reach 120 degrees. Our Humane Law Enforcement Officers have been working around the clock to rescue animals left alone in cars in these warm temperatures. Dont put your pet at risk of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
3) Burnt Pads Pavement can burn the pads of a dogs foot, especially early in the season when pads are less calloused. When taking your dog on a long walk its a good idea to lift up their feet to check their pads for cracks and burns. Dogs with light-colored pigmented pads are more susceptible to burns than dogs with dark pigmentation.
4) Sunburn Dogs exposed to prolonged periods of sun can develop sunburn on sensitive areas of their face, ears, and abdomen. Dogs with light pigmented skin and short coats are especially vulnerable and should be protected from long exposure to the sun. Sunlight reflected up from sidewalks and sandy beaches can also burn abdomens where skin is less protected by hair. When taking your dog out for a long walk consider applying sunscreen to your pets vulnerable burn areas. Many pet stores now carry specially formulated sun block for dogs that will help protect them from harmful UV rays.
5) Proper Hydration Water helps regulate body temperature and similar to humans, our pets bodies are primarily made up of water. Water keeps tissues moist and transports essential nutrients throughout the body. Dehydration occurs when water intake does not match water expenditures. A 15% decrease in water and electrolytes can even cause death. Keep your pets hydrated by always having several full bowls of clean, fresh water available to them at all times.
6) Coat Maintenance A dogs coat acts as an insulator from cold temperatures during winter months and from heat during the summer. To help regulate body temperature, dogs with undercoats will shed their coat twice a year with the change of the season. With regular brushing and grooming you can help them remove excess dead hair and keep them comfortable year round.
7) Parasites During the summer months your pet has more exposure to mosquitoes, worms, ticks, and fleas. Regularly check your yard for standing water and protect your pet from parasitical infestations with treatment available from your veterinarian.
8) Allergies Just like people, some dogs and cats are more sensitive to the pollens associated with spring and summer. Be observant to any changes in your pets diet and behavior and check with your veterinarian should any changes occur.
9) Securing Screens With the nicer weather approaching many of us will open windows to let in fresh air. However, unsecured-screens in open windows can give way, allowing your pet to escape from the house or worse. Since cats and dogs alike are attracted to the scenic view and pleasures of open windows, frequently check the integrity of screens to keep your pet safely indoors.
10) House Temperatures During the hot summer months be certain to keep your pet comfortable with climate controlled temperatures when you leave for the day. Body temperatures in cats and dogs naturally run higher than that of a human, so keep them safe; keep it cool.
By Kevin Simpson, Washington Humane Society Director of Animal Behavior and Training