Summer is the most popular season for a reason: time seems to slow down, there’s a barbecue or beach day every week, and the days get long. However, all the wonder come along with something else: warmth.
Humans are the most skilled mammals at regulating our body heat; our species is found everywhere from the coldest temperatures on earth to the hottest. Domesticated dogs and cats, on the other hand, have a harder time adjusting to high temperatures. Because of this, there are important steps you need to take to make sure your furry friend remains happy and healthy during the hottest months of the year.
1. Never, ever leave your pet in a parked car
There’s nothing quite as dangerous for an animal than being left in a car on a hot day. Even when parked in the shade, the interior of a vehicle can reach 120˚F in minutes. Cracked windows or water left in the car won’t help. Unless you can take your pet into a store with you, leave them at home where they have access to air conditioning.
Some states, including California, now have laws allowing concerned citizens to break into a hot car to rescue an animal trapped there.
2. Care for your outdoor cats
Outdoor cats love to roam the wild, but on especially hot days they can suffer from heat exhaustion. Make sure your kitty has access to fresh, cool water (kept in a light-colored bowl to prevent heat absorption) and make sure there are plenty of shaded areas for them to rest in.
3. Walk dogs in the morning or at night
Some dogs require a lot of stimulation, and hot days inside can lead to both pet and pet parent going a little stir crazy. To prevent heat exhaustion, allow your dogs to run around (or run with you) outside before the day gets too hot, or after the sun has set. If you must walk your dog during the hottest part of the day, bring a cool bottle of water and portable bowl with you to provide them with a drink.
Remember that dark pavement can become very hot to the touch, and can burn a dog’s pads. If you live in a hot climate and must walk during the day, protect your dog’s feet with heat-resistant shoes.
4. Protect your pet from sunburns
While fur protects our pets from the worst of the sun, they can still be susceptible to its rays. Protect outdoor cats’ ears and noses with pet-safe sunscreen. Use pet-safe sunscreen on pale dog’s noses, and refrain from completely shaving furrier dogs like huskies to keep them protected.
5. Watch for summer-born dangers
Lawns and flowerbeds are more commonly fertilized during the summer, and there tend to be dangerous insects out and about as well. Keep your pet away from areas where they might ingest deadly chemicals, and watch to make sure they don’t eat any insects—bee stings are especially ferocious for your dog.
6. Find fun ways to keep cool
Your pup can enjoy summer just like you! Give your dog ice cubes as a fun treat after a walk (it’s cute to watch them chase them across the floor). Allow your dog to splash around in a kid-sized pool; just make sure they are supervised and don’t allow them to over-exert themselves. Some pet food brands even make dog-safe ice cream you can mix at home!