Keep in mind the following tips to help your furry family members stay happy and healthy during the hot summer days:
• Keep your pet inside, and always provide your furry friend with plenty of cool, fresh water and proper shade when outside. Make sure to provide a properly constructed doghouse in a shady area. Bring your dog or cat inside during the hottest part of the day.
• Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows open offers little protection from the heat. Any vehicle can become like an oven on a warm day. It’s best to leave your furry friend at home.
• Take your dog for walks either in the early morning or late evening. Don’t force your companion to exercise in hot, humid weather. Wait at least one hour after meals and until the cooler part of the day.
• Be extra sensitive to older and over-weight animals in hot weather, as they are more susceptible to heat stroke. It’s best to keep them indoors and in air-conditioning as much as possible.
• Do not walk your pet on hot asphalt. Animals’ body temperatures easily elevate, so walk in the grass to avoid overheating and burning paw pads.
•Groom your pet regularly to prevent any summer skin problems. It’s best to maintain a short coat for dogs and frequently brush your cat. But, don’t shave your dog’s fur down to the skin. A coat shorter than an one-inch length could rob him of protection from the sun.
• Avoid walking your dog in areas that might have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Be aware of coolant or other automotive fluids leaking from your vehicle.
• Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances.
With permission from the Kentucky Humane Society, 2009.