Keeping Your Pets Safe In the Heat of Summer
Summer time is just around the corner, which means summer break, road trips, vacations and lots of other fun in the sun activities. But just like humans need to take precautions to not burn or overheat in the sun, pet parents also have to remember to take steps to ensure their pets’ safety and comfort in the sun and heat, as well.
These are the soft spots on the bottom of your pet’s feet. These pads provide extra cushioning to help protect bones and joints from shock, as well as provide insulation against extreme weather and walking on textured or rough terrain. Aside from hot surfaces like pavement, metal and asphalt that can get very hot during the heat of summer, paw pads are even more sensitive to heat after extended periods of time in the water, such as after spending the day at a beach or by the lake or a river.
Signs of Burned Paw Pads:
- Limping or prancing on hot pavement
- Refusing to walk
- Darker color of pads
- Missing patches of pads
- Blistering and redness
- Excessive licking or chewing of pads
Minor cases can be treated at home with ointments like Snout Soother, Bag Balm and Corona Multi-Purpose Ointment. These have antiseptic qualities and will keep a moisturizing, protective layer on your pet’s paws.
If your pet’s paws have blisters or open wounds, go to your vet for additional care to ensure there is no further, unseen damage that may require prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection.
Preventing Burned Paw Pads
Be mindful of the temperatures outside, and if the ground is too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet, too. Consider protective methods such as pet shoes, pet strollers, or even just carrying your pet across certain surfaces that may burn their paw pads. It will keep them safe, and give you extra peace of mind.
Occurs when your pet’s internal temperature becomes dangerously high, generally about 106 degrees F. It can be due to being locked in a hot car, or to over-exercising in a hot and/or humid environment. Heat stroke can lead to serious medical conditions including brain damage, organ failure and death. The reason is that when your pet’s body overheats, a chemical reaction occurs that breaks down the cells in your pet’s body. It’s a painful, scary, and horrible feeling and fate that is completely preventable.
Cars are the worst places to leave your pet. Even if it doesn’t feel that hot outside, your car will be much warmer inside. Just think of how hot is in there when you first get in after leaving it locked in a parking lot for a few hours, or even just a quick run into the grocery store. Unfortunately, most people think that leaving the windows open a crack will keep the car cooler, but it’s usually not enough for pet safety. Cars act like a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat inside. Even if it’s only 72 degrees outside, the car’s internal temperature can climb to nearly 120 degrees within an hour. If it’s 85 degrees outside, the car will at 102 degrees within in just 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 20 minutes.
The signs of Heat Stroke:
- Heavy panting
- Body temperatures of 104 – 110 degrees F
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Bright or dark red gums and tongue
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of coordination, staggering
- Glazed eyes
- Bloody diarrhea
Treating heat stroke should begin immediately, by moving the pet to a cool area, and using cold water, but not ice cold water, which could make things worse. If you have a fan available, that could also help. If your pet is alert, try offering water or ice cubes to drink or much on slowly. Be sure to monitor your pet’s body temperature and stop cooling measures when it reaches 103 degrees F or you could actually make your pet cold.
If your pet doesn’t show signs of improvement, call your vet or an emergency clinic to tell them you’re coming ahead of time so they can be prepared. Then move your pet as quickly and safely as possible.
Preventing Heat Stroke
There are simple and common sense ways of preventing heat stroke, such as keeping fresh water always available, having a shaded outdoor area for your pet at all times, and never leaving your pet in the car, even for a minute with the windows open. The best thing you can do for pets when it’s hot outside is to keep them inside.
Heat stroke can happen in a matter of minutes and can prove irreversible. If you see a pet in locked car, please notify the authorities. You may feel weird about it, but you could end up saving a life and there’s nothing weird or awkward about that.