July 2019 - Seatown Veterinary Care

All jokes aside, it’s getting hot this summer and it is important to recognize when our dogs need cooling down. We release heat all over our body so it is easy to dismiss the heat once we cool ourselves down; our dogs however can only release heat through their paws and by panting. It is important that we recognize when we need to help cool down our dogs in the summer heat.

Your dog will tell you when they are hot; the first signs of heat stress are panting and an increased thirst.  Heat exhaustion strikes when your pet starts getting dizzy, weak, or unable to stand for long periods. Make sure to listen to your pet, give him water and make sure he has a shaded area with good air circulation to rest in.

Without cool air, ground, and water to cool themselves down, our pets can experience heatstroke. Once a pet gets too hot, they can lose the ability to thermo-regulate themselves and we need to intervein.  Symptoms include incessant or noisy panting, collapse, inability to walk/stand and an altered mental state.

If you are concerned that your pet is too hot, take a rectal temperature (with that thermometer in your pet’s first aid kit). Our dogs and cats have a normal body temperature of 99.5-102.5 F. If your pet’s temperature is high, get then to drink water and rest in the shade. Monitor their temperature until it has returned to normal. If your pets’ temperature exceeds 104 F, contact your veterinarian immediately.

While on this topic, I would also like to debunk a popular myth about keeping our pets cool in the summer: shaving.  Our dogs have coats that are designed to keep them regulated. This especially applies to our northern breeds like Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs. By shaving away their coat we are taking away one of their mechanisms of protection from the sun and heat. Shaving down to their skin also increases their risk of sunburn.

Yes, that’s right, sunburn! Any skin exposure on our pets (shaved or natural) is at risk of sunburn. Keep an eye on ears, noses, bellies, and areas of thin or shaved hair so you can catch it quick. For pets with light skin, white fur and areas of hair loss make sure to apply sunscreen when spending time in the sun. Dog sunscreens or non toxic baby sunscreens are your best options, however you should always read the ingredients. Zinc Oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are toxic to dogs and should be avoided.

If you have any questions on keeping dogs cool in the Summer heat or other summer safety, never hesitate to call your local veterinary office.

Have you seen our article on keeping you Keeping your Cats Cool in the summer?
Also check out the ASPCA Tips on hot weather safety.

With the heat wave that just passed through the Pacific Northwest, the perfect opportunity popped up to discuss pet safety and how to keep your cat cool in the Summer heat.  Last year we posted about keeping dogs cool but left out the pets that are stuck inside all day. As true for most of us in the PNW, my home does not have air conditioning. Last weekend I had four cats sprawled out and miserable on the hardwood floor trying to cool off- it was heartbreaking. I want you to have the tools you need to help all the animals in your house. The following information will do that. Learn what signs to watch for and what to do to help.

Watch For Signs:

Watch your pets closely on the hotter days this Summer. Your pet will tell you they are hot. Heat stress can be seen with increased thirst, shade-seeking, restlessness, and in dogs- panting. Heat Exhaustion strikes when they become dizzy, weak, unable to stand for long periods of time, and in cats- panting. Make sure to listen to your pet, give him water and make sure he has a shaded area with good air circulation to rest in.

Keep Your Cat Cool:

Animals are not impervious to the weather. As we discussed last year, our pets do not have the same ability to release heat throughout their bodies as we do. Cats and dogs release heat though their paws and by panting. That being said, panting in a cat is a lot more worrisome than in our dogs, so let’s focus on their toe-beans!

Heat rises, so focus on the floor: areas of tile or hardwood are going to be more appealing to your feline friends in the Summer heat. Fans in rooms with these floors will help the floors cooler and the heat in the air. Place a dry or lightly damp towel in the freezer. Putting that frozen towel on the floor can offer a happy cold spot to lay. That same towel or an ice pack can be placed in a small enclosed area such as a large cat carrier to cool the whole space.
More active cats can be given toys from the freezer or even an ice cube to play with. Batting around the cool items puts them in direct contact with those paw pads to start cooling them down.

Call your Vet:

If you are worried about your cat being overheated, or you think they are experiencing heat exhaustion, notify your veterinarian immediately.

This was: How to Keep your Cat Cool in the Summer Heat
Shayla, LVT
Seatown Veterinary Care

Check our more Summer Safety tips from the ASPCA at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips
Check out the article we posted last year at  https://seatownvet.com/how-do-you-cool-down-your-dog/