Chill Out Responsibly With Your Pets This Summer
August 11, 2011
Summer generally is a time for relaxation and fun in the sun.
Short vacations can mean that you have more time to
spend enjoying the company of your pet. Many people take
advantage of the warm weather by making resolutions to get
themselves and their animals into shape. However, when
participating in activities like walking or running during the
summer, extra precautions need to be taken.
Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
asserts that humans are not the only ones having to deal with the
higher than average temperatures outside.
"The animals know it is hot out," states Stickney. "They are
doing things they normally wouldn't do to stay cool. And that's an
important thing to remember when we're outside. When they are riled
up and having a good time, they may forget how hot it is. You need
to monitor them and make sure they are not too hot."
Taking frequent breaks, like you would if you were out working
in the heat, is important for pets as well. It is necessary to
remember that although you may be used to handling the heat with no
problem, your pet, especially if it has longer, thicker hair or is
overweight, may not be faring as well.
"If you're thirsty," says Stickney, "they are thirstier. Animals
need plenty of access to fresh water. You can even put ice cubes
into it to make it colder."
Summer does not have to mean a halt to normal activities you
participate in with your dog. If, rather than walking a circuit
that takes you straight back to your house, you enjoy walking your
dog to a park and then resting there for a while, just make sure to
bring an extra bottle of water for your dog. Do not forget a
bowl for it to drink out of as well.
"Also remember that the pavement is incredibly hot," affirms
Stickney. "If they are not used to being outside, they do not have
thick foot pads, and they could develop burns on their feet.
Letting them walk on the grass instead of the concrete can help
keep their foot pads from blistering."
A great summertime activity to participate in with your dog is
anything that allows it to get into water, where it can cool off.
It will still need to have clean drinking water available,
however, along with a shady place that it can rest in when
it gets out of the water. Swimming for a long time can be
draining on a person; it can also have the same affect on a dog
that is not used to the physical exertion.
"If your pet does overdo it in the sun, there are signs you can
watch out for," states Stickney. "Panting, unresponsiveness, very
red whites of their eyes, and bright pink, reddish gums mean that
your dog is very hot and needs a break."
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, stop
any activity immediately and allow the dog to get a drink and to
Overall, it is important to be smart and safe when going on
outings with your pets during the summer. Monitor them
closely, and be prepared to step in at the first sign of heat
stress. Take care of them like you would yourself in the heat, and
together you can have an enjoyable season.
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