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With summer nearly half over, pet owners everywhere are taking the time they have left to spend the remaining sunny days of the season outdoors with their furry companions. While taking walks in the park or runs along the beach can offer a lot of fun and exercise, being overeager with your pet in hot weather can spell danger, warn experts from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Even young and healthy pets can suffer the effects of dehydration, sunburn, and heatstroke when overexposed to hot weather, warns the ASPCA. In extreme cases, heat stroke can be fatal in pets when not correctly and quickly treated.

Fortunately for pet owners, protecting the health of your pet during the dog days or summer only requires taking a few simple precautions. While these tips can help to prevent heat stroke, pet owners should seek immediate help from a vet should they suspect their pet is suffering from the condition.

Schedule a Visit

Before taking your pet outside for extended periods of time, you need to first schedule a check-up with your vet. Make sure your pet gets tested for heartworms if they don’t take medication year-round to prevent infection. If you find that ticks and fleas have become an issue whenever you take your pet outside, ask your vet to recommend a safe tick and flea control program.

Take Time in the Shade

Your furry friend can become quickly dehydrated when out in the hot summer sun. Make sure to provide your pet with plenty of clean, fresh water when outdoors in hot weather. When outside for an extended period, make sure to spend plenty of time with your pet in the shade to help cool them off. You also need to be careful not to over-exercise your pet on hot day, and to keep them indoors on the hottest days of the year.

Read the Signs

To know whether their pet has begun to suffer the effects of overheating, owners need to understand the signs exhibited. An overheated pet may show symptoms that include difficulty breathing or excessive panting, elevated respiratory or heart rate, stupor, drooling, muscle weakness, and even collapse. In extreme temperatures when a pet’s body temperature reaches over 104 degrees, overheated pets may even exhibit symptoms as vomiting, bloody stool, or seizure.

Certain breeds, such as Pugs and Persian cats, are more likely to suffer from heat stroke since their flat faces prevent them from properly panting. Older and overweight pets and those with lung and heart diseases should be kept indoors in a room with A/C on hot days.

No Parking

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car during the summer’s hottest days. A parked vehicle can quickly become unbearable for a pet, even if the windows are rolled down. Leaving your pet in the car can quickly lead to fatal heatstroke, and may be illegal in certain states.

Water Safety

Despite what many pet owners may think, not all dogs are good swimmers and shouldn’t be left unsupervised around a pool alone. Owners need to introduce their pets to water gradually and make sure they wear a flotation device while onboard a boat. Owners also need to take the time to rinse their pet off after spending time in the pool or ocean to remove the salt or chlorine from his fur, and make sure they keep their pet from drinking salt of pool water, which can dehydrate them more quickly on hot days.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Advanced Dental Arts NW, a dental office in Portland, OR.


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