Summer means hot weather! That hot weather poses a potential danger to your pets. Keep reading for warm weather tips and general guidelines, information on heat stroke, and even suggestions for keeping your small mammal pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc) cool in the summer time.
- If possible, keep your pets indoors with the shades drawn and the air conditioning or an oscillating fan on.
- If your pet has to stay outside make sure they have access to cool and shaded areas.
- Whether they are indoors or outside, make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in their bowls to keep the water extra cool.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around pools. Not all pets are water savvy and even experienced swimmers can get tired and have trouble getting out of a pool.
- Keep long, thick fur trimmed in a lightweight summer cut.
- Only take your dog on a walk early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Not only can exercise in extreme heat cause heat stoke but the hot asphalt can burn sensitive paw pads.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or play in general in the hot weather; don't go on long hikes or lengthy walks.
- NEVER leave your pet in the car! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a veterinary emergency! If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke get them to a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!
- Excessive panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Weakness, stupor, and possible collapse
- Bloody diarrhea
- Flat nosed breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Persians are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Other pets at high risk include the elderly, overweight pets, and pets with heart or lung disease.
If you think your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, get them to a vet immediately. In the interim you can try to cool them off by dousing them with cool (but NOT cold or ice cold water) especially on the groin, arm pits, and paws. You do not want to soak them completely with cold water. This can cause shock and can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, thereby trapping heat inside the body.
You can read more information about heat stroke here, from our Pet Health Resource Library. You can also read about Tucker Klopp on our Lives Saved page; a Newfoundland who was hospitalized after collapsing on a hot day.
Tips for Keeping Small Mammal Pets Cool
- Place a large, ceramic tile in the freezer or refridgerator overnight, then place inside the pet's cage. Make sure to cover the sharp edges so your pet won't get cut. You can purchase tiles at most hardware stores for fairly cheap.
- Make sure they have access to full, fresh water bottles.
- Place a cold, damp (not soaking wet) towel in one part of their cage, insuring your pet still has warm, dry spots in their habitat. You can also drape the towel on the outside of the cage, over one side to create a cool, shaded shelter.
- Keep their cages indoors and out of direct sunlight.
- Place frozen water bottles wrapped in towels in their cage for pets to lean against. Secure them so they do not have the chance to roll over.
- Use an oscillating fan near their cage. This way the fan is not constantly blowing directly on your pocket pet but is still providing cool air flow.
- Feed them frozen fruit and refrigerated veggies.
- Mist rabbit ears lightly with water to help them regulate their temperature.
- The House Rabbit Society has an informative page on rabbits and heat exhaustion with useful tips that can be applied towards other pocket pets as well.
By taking the proper precautions and following a few simple guidelines we can enjoy all the fun the season brings and keep our pets healthy and safe. It doesn't take much to make sure our furry friends are comfortable and cool in the heat. If you have any questions or concerns, we are here when you need us! Stop on by or give us a call at 925-866-8387.