Summer Health Tips For Your Pet

by | News & Events

Summer in Coastal Virgnia is beautiful and sunny, and there are endless opportunities to take advantage of the longer days and head outdoors with your pet for long walks, hikes or jogs in nature or around your neighborhood. Before you head out and spend a long, summer afternoon outdoors with your four-legged best friend, remember to take proper precautions for your pet in the extreme heat.

Summer temperatures can rise into the high 90s, and when combined with humidity and our coastal climate, these temperatures can become brutal for a pet with a full coat of fur. It’s important to take appropriate steps to ensure your pet’s health and safety during extremely hot days, so they can remain comfortable and happy, all summer long.

We understand your pets are your family, and we want to help you both to stay healthy and happy throughout all four seasons of the year. Here are summer health tips for your pet, to help them stay comfortable and cool, all season long.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
We know this seems obvious, but it’s important to understand how quickly and easily your pet can become dehydrated in extreme heat, so that you can make sure to keep cool, fresh water close and accessible at all times. Symptoms of dehydration in your pet may be excessive drooling, dry gums and loss of skin elasticity. Provide an abundance of cool water to your pup, and try to keep them out of the heat for long periods of time to prevent developing dehydration.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
While we understand that you may have to pick up your fluffer from the groomer and run errands in a short window of time, we recommend never leaving your pet in the car for even a couple of minutes on hot days. Within just a few minutes, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees even on more comfortable days, putting your pet in a dangerous situation where they may develop dehydration or heat stroke. When you do have to take your pet on car rides, take them inside with you at each stop, and never leave them alone in the car. 

Change Your Pet’s Exercise Schedule
While your pup may need a lot of outdoor exercise throughout the day, in summer, you’ll have to modify how much and at what time you take them out. Try to avoid running or walking your pet in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its highest and hottest. Instead, choose to exercise your pet in the early morning or late evening, and on particularly hot days, avoid exercising them outdoors at all. Your pet will be better off taking it easy indoors, than heading out and overheating.

Avoid Hot Sidewalks
Believe it or not, the pads on your pup’s paws can burn quickly and easily on hot asphalt or sidewalks, and on days when these surfaces become scorching, you’ll want to avoid letting your pup walk on them at all. Try to walk your pet through grassy areas when the temperatures rise, to protect their feet and keep their paws from burning. Look for shaded sidewalks and areas that don’t receive direct sunlight when you can, and remember to avoid midday walks outdoors, in general.

Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke
In summer, it’s important to watch your pet carefully for signs of heat stroke, since they won’t be able to tell you if they begin to feel unwell. Signs of heat stroke are excessive panting, dark or bright red gums or tongue, lethargy, vomiting, diahrrhea, stumbling and seizures. You won’t want to ever put your pet in a position where they may begin to develop heat stroke in the first place, but should they begin to show signs, it’s important to try to immediately cool them down and get them to a veterinarian quickly. To cool your pet quickl, submerge them in a cool tub or spray them down with a hose of cool water. Don’t assume that they’re in the clear once you’ve cooled them down, though. You’ll still want to get to your veterinarian immediately for a full checkup and the all clear sign.