It’s starting to get hot outside, and it’s only going to get warmer. Portland temperatures peaked at 102° F in 2022 and an incredible 114° F in 2021, and we’re heading into our two hottest months of the year: July and August. If you think it’s hot for you, consider how hot it would be if you were covered in fur?
We’re here to help you Pet when they’re sick or injured, but ideally we want to keep them away from the hospital. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a few hot tips (get it?) to keep your Pets as cool and healthy as their Pet Parents.
Keep Them Hydrated!
This one’s obvious, so don’t forget it. Your Pet can hit dangerous levels of dehydration before you realize what’s happening, so know the signs and know how to avoid them.
Always make sure they have access to clean, fresh water! You can pick up a travel water bowl or portable bottle to carry with you on walks. Dogs and cats sweat through their paw pads, and dogs can lose body water when they pant. This, of course, picks up when the weather is hot, so keep the water handy. You can literally keep water handy if you’re stuck without a bowl or bottle … a thirsty Pet will drink right out of your hands!
Watch Those Paws!
Speaking of paw pads, consider what walking along a paved path or across hot asphalt might do to them in extreme heat. You wear shoes. Your Pet doesn’t. Consider whether or not you’d feel comfortable strolling across the parking lot in bare feet in 100° weather. Doesn’t sound great, does it? Now imagine you had four bare feet!
Adjusting your walk times and routes can be a big help. You could try walking your Pet earlier in the day when the temperature’s not so high, and look for cooler detours, like grass. If you can’t keep the back of your hand on the ground for more than few seconds without pain, it’s too hot for your furry friend!
Don’t Be Too Quick To Shave Your Pet!
It’s easy to think that a shorter haircut might help your Pet stay cooler in the summer. While that can be true, it also makes it easier for your Pet to sunburn or overheat. While we’re on the topic of sunburn, make sure any sunscreen or insect repellent you use is specifically labeled for animals. Trust us, that label exists for a reason.
Know What Heatstroke Looks Like!
Bad signs: difficulty breathing, excessive panting, drooling, stupor, weakness, an increased respiratory and heart rate, very red gums, and a body temperature above 104 degrees. If things get bad enough, they can experience vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and even seizures. Unchecked heatstroke can be deadly.
Keep Them Safe!
Never leave your Pets in a parked car during the summertime, whether you’ve, “cracked the window,” or not. You should already know that one. Make sure you aren’t leaving them unsupervised near a pool . Not even Pet can swim, and you don’t want them drinking chlorinated water. And make sure to keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed! Open, unscreened windows can be a breeding ground for injuries if your Pet’s looking for relief and can’t use their words to explain why.
A lot of summer holidays can include unexpected dangers. Fireworks are an obvious trigger for Pets — read more about that here — but even drinks and food you might have at a cookout can cause major health problems. Alcohol can cause side effects ranging from general intoxication to a coma. Simple foods like chocolate, raisins, grapes, and certain sweeteners can cause digestive ailments.
Know Their Limitations!
If your Pet is overweight, elderly, has a preexisting heart or lung condition, or has a flat face that keeps them from panting properly, they’re going to have a harder time in high temperatures. Keep them air-conditioned as much as possible, and know how much summer fun they can handle without suffering!
And finally, make sure to bring your Pet into Hannah for a check-up sooner rather than later. We don’t want to scare you into staying inside all summer and not having fun, we just want you and your Pet to have many more fun summers in the future.