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Keeping Your Pets Safe In The Summer Heat

Originally Posted: June 08, 2012

Pets like our pal Miles are affected by warm weather too. (Douglas Harrington)

Southampton - With an unseasonably warm and dry winter, one can only imagine how hot the summer will be. As the warm weather approaches, keep in mind that pets are affected as well. They are in danger of experiencing dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn.

Below are important tips from Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, North America's largest and fastest growing pet care franchise.

 • Pets Need Sunscreen: Just like humans, cats and dogs can get sunburned, especially if he/she has light-colored hair. Animal sunburns can cause the same problems as that of humans - peeling, redness and even cancer. As skin cancer in pets is a serious concern, purchasing pet-friendly sun screen can go a long way in protecting the health of your pet when the heat kicks in. Places that are easy to forget, but prone to burning are inside the nostrils, tip of nose, around your dog's lips and the inside of ears for dogs with standup ears.

 • Summer Style: Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, but never to the skin, so your pet still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

 • Pets Need Extra Water But Don't Let Them Drink Just Anything: Give your dog extra water during the summer, but be sure not to leave the water out for too long. Change the water often to prevent your pet from getting sick from bacteria that can grow in hot water. Also, when dogs are thirsty, they are bound to drink something they shouldn't. Puddles of what may look like water on the ground can be mistaken for dangerous chemicals, so keep an eye out when your dog is looking for something to sip on.

 • Make A Safe Splash: Buy a kiddie or dog swimming pool and fill it with water for your pet. But, do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool - not all pets are good swimmers. Introduce your pet to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. To remove chlorine or salt from the fur, rinse your pet after swimming. Be sure to also keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

 • Pets At Outdoor Summer Events: Warm temperatures and outdoor fun go hand-in-hand, but when the temperatures hit record highs, refrain from taking your pet to crowded summer events like concerts or fairs. The loud noises and crowds, combined with the heat, can be stressful and dangerous for pets.

 • Exercising In The Heat: Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but show extra care to older and overweight pets that are more at risk from high temperatures. Limiting exercise to early morning or evening hours can help. Extra caution should also be taken with short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats.

 • Watch For Heatstroke: Dogs can develop heatstroke fairly quickly. Signs of this include excessive panting, staring, anxious facial expressions, warm skin, refusal to obey commands by owner, vomiting, collapse and rapid heartbeat. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from this, lower the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after just a few minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back up or falling to well below what is normal. If this happens, take the dog to the vet immediately don't try to solve this yourself.

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