You might love getting sweaty and hot in the summer sun, but your pets don’t have the luxury of cooling themselves off. Each year dozens of pets die due to heatstroke, sunburn complications, and dehydration because they simply didn’t show noticeable symptoms before it was too late. Being a responsible pet owner means more than just getting the best renters insurance to protect your home. Try these four tips for keeping your pets safe no matter how hot it gets.
Watch for Signs
If you’re unaware of the early warnings of heat stroke, you’re likely to keep your pet out in the sun while they’re suffering. Keep a careful eye out for warning signs like:
Excessive panting, which may mean any panting at all for a dog with a heavy coat or a short snout
Vomiting, even if you suspect another cause like eating grass
Salivation and drooling, which is tricky to spot in dogs that always drool
Reddening of the skin inside the ears
Keep a Thermometer Handy
Of course, these symptoms are all quite vague and easy to overlook, especially when you’re busy also watching your children or visiting with friends. There’s no one temperature that is dangerous to all dogs because their body temperature depends on humidity levels, the thickness of the coat, and the health of the dog. A simple pet thermometer designed to work with a touch to the inner ear is the best way to check your dog’s temperature at any given moment. Check your dog every 15 minutes when they’re in the sun or outdoors to verify that they’re staying around the 103 degree F mark. If the dog rises to 104 or above, they need immediate cooling to prevent heat stroke damage.
Grab the Rubbing Alcohol
If you’re facing a pet with heat stroke, you must act immediately to cool them off on the way to the vet. Wetting your pet down and sitting them in front of a fan is a good start, but it’s tricky to do when you’re in the car going to the vet. Applying a little rubbing alcohol to the pet’s paw pads and allowing it to evaporate offers a similar cooling effect in a more portable format.
See a Vet
All pets that experience a temperature of above 103 F for dogs and 105 F in cats need to see a vet even after you get them cooled down again. If you read your pet’s temperature as above this level but they never showed outward symptoms, they could still have internal organ and brain damage that shortens their lifespan. A quick vet visit verifies that your pet is fully recovered and allows you to treat any damage before it becomes permanent.