The summer season come with more opportunities to outdoor activities with your family and furry friends. However, the heat and humidity can also pose serious risks not just to you but also to your pet's health and well-being. Heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburn are just a few of the potential hazards that pets face during the summer month.
As a responsible pet owner, it's important to take extra precautions to keep your pets safe and comfortable during the summer months. With the Summer season right around the corner, here are 5 essential tips for summer pet care:
1. Provide Plenty of Water: Hydration is Key
One of the most important things you can do for your pets during the summer is to ensure they stay hydrated. Make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water both inside and outside the house. Refill their bowl frequently, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors.
If you're going on a long walk or hike, bring along a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of water so your pet can take frequent sips. You can also add ice cubes to their water bowl to help keep them cool.
2. Protect Against Sunburn
Sunburns can be painful and increase the risk of skin cancer, so it's important to protect your pets from the sun's harmful UV rays. Limit their time in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day (10 am to 4 pm). If your pet has a thin coat or exposed skin, apply pet-specific sunscreen (avoid using human sunscreen as it can be toxic) to their nose, ears, and other sensitive areas.
You can also consider getting them a lightweight, sun-protective shirt or hat. If your pets like to go outside to rest so often, make sure they have a shady spot to rest in and access to water. You can also place a fain in their outdoor area to keep them cool.
According to a study conducted by the University of California, “Animals can suffer heat exhaustion and heatstroke in a very short time, even when they’re outside for just a few minutes.”
3. Groom Your Pets Regularly
Regular grooming helps to prevent matting and tangling of fur, which can trap heat close to the skin and make your pets uncomfortable. According to a research paper published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, “Regular grooming not only keeps your pet’s fur looking shiny and healthy but also helps to prevent skin infections and other health problems.”
During summer, it’s a good idea to trim your pet’s fur to help keep them cool. Brushing your pet’s fur regularly also helps to remove loose hair and promote good air circulation around their skin.
4. Protect Your Pet’s Paws
Hot pavement, sand and concrete can cause serious burns to your pet’s paws, leading to discomfort, cracks and injury. To protect their paws during summer, walk your pets early in the morning or late in the evening when the pavement is cooler. You can also consider walking them on grassy areas, using booties or paw protectors. Always keep a check on their paws and apply veterinary-recommended lotions to keep their paws moisturised.
5. Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
This may seem like common sense, but it's worth repeating: never leave your pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes. It is extremely dangerous. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly rise to dangerous levels, even with the windows cracked open. When pets are left inside the car have a high chance to cause heatstroke, and brain damage, and it could be fatal.
If you need to run errands on a hot day, leave your pet at home in a cool, air-conditioned room or bring them with you (but never leave them in the car). According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, "On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in just a matter of minutes, even with the windows cracked open."
Keep a check of all these tips and start taking necessary precautions at the earliest to help your pets stay cool and comfortable throughout this summer. We also request you keep water for the local dogs, cats and birds outdoors, as they also require sufficient water to stay hydrated to beat the summer heat.
American Veterinary Medical Association. (n.d.). Summer Pet Safety
University of California. (2017, July 6). Protect Your Pets from the Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science. (2008, April 1). The Effect of Coat Brushing and Grooming on Human-Animal Interaction.
Journal of Small Animal Practice. (2019, August 19). Protecting Dogs’ Paws During the Summer Months.
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. (2016, July 21). Animals Left in Hot Cars: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature.