Summer is a great time of year to get outdoors and have fun with your pets, but those hot days come with increased risks as well. Before you plan your summer activities, make sure to keep these safety tips in mind.

Keeping Your Pet Cool

Most dogs and cats are good at knowing their limits, so give them plenty of chances to cool down. Be sure your pet always has plenty of fresh, cool water available to drink. Some cats are reluctant to drink from a standard water dish, so providing them with a fountain-style bowl can encourage better hydration. Dogs sometimes enjoy splashing around in shallow portable pools, but this shouldn’t be their only source of water.

Make sure your pet has plenty of options for getting out of the sun when spending time outdoors. Open, well-ventilated spaces are ideal. Although fans can help your pet stay cool, don’t rely on them too much. Since dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do, fans are less effective at keeping them cool. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, consider providing a cooling mat or vest.

Tulsa sees plenty of humid days, and it’s important to keep an extra close eye on your pets as humidity levels rise. Dogs and cats rely primarily on panting to cool themselves down, which becomes less effective in high humidity. When temperature and moisture levels are high, it’s a good idea to limit exercise and outdoor time.

Travel Safety

Taking your pet along on a summer vacation or a fun outdoor activity seems like a great idea, but it comes with some risks, too. Every year, pets die from being left in hot cars. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked. Interior temperatures can rise very quickly, so even short trips can cause heatstroke.

Remember that sidewalks and roads can burn your pet’s paws. If you’re unsure about whether it’s too hot, put the back of your hand against the surface of the concrete or asphalt. If it’s too hot for you to comfortably leave your hand there, it’s too hot for your dog.

Know the Danger Signs

Even if you take these precautions, heatstroke can creep up on your pet. It’s more common in dogs, but cats can be affected as well. Breeds with short muzzles, such as pugs, are particularly prone to it.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Glazed eyes
  • Deep red or purple tongue and gums
  • Lack of coordination

In severe cases, heatstroke can cause seizures and death. If you think your pet may have heatstroke, call Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital immediately at (918) 747-1311.

Act Quickly

If your pet does begin showing signs of heatstroke, quick action can help. Immediately bring the animal out of the sun and apply cool water to the entire body. This can be in the form of a bath, wet towels or simply hosing them down. Do not use ice-cold water. Offer your cat or dog cool, fresh drinking water immediately. Not all animals suffering from heatstroke will drink, but they should have the option.

Prompt first aid increases an animal’s chance of survival, but it isn’t a replacement for veterinary care. As soon as you take these steps, get to your Tulsa veterinarian’s office. Your veterinarian may use IV fluids and other treatments to help your pet recover with minimal damage.

Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital is a trusted friend, here to help you keep your pets safe and feeling good. Frequent checkups are important to maintain a healthy cat or dog. As an animal owner, you have an obligation to provide the best care you can for this little creature that gives you so much and asks for nothing in return. Call Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital today and make an appointment for your furry friend to ensure they stay by your side for years to come.

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