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Keep Your Pets Safe this Sweltering Summer

Keep Your Pets Safe this Sweltering Summer

July has started off here in Massachusetts with quite the heat wave. It seemed like a good time for us to remind you of the safety concerns for your pets this summer.

While dogs are usually front and center when we talk about heat concerns with pets, due to the amount of time dogs spend outdoors, many pets are susceptible to the dangers of heat stroke, and its important you know your pet’s limits in the heat.

Many small animals cannot tolerate very high temperatures. For example, temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit can be fatal to a chinchilla. Hamsters and bunnies can also be susceptible to heat stroke. Make sure you familiarize yourself with what the ideal temperature is for your pet. If you see signs of heatstroke, including heavy breathing, extreme lethargy, confusion, and/or salivation, begin wrapping them in cool damp cloths or towels (IMPORTANT: not cold, body temperature needs to be brought down slowly), and contact your veterinarian right away.

To prevent heat stroke in small animals, keep cages in cooler areas in your house. If you have air conditioning, use it to help keep them cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, plastic bottles filled part way with water and frozen can be lain in cages for animals to lie near and lick. As should always be true, make sure your pet has plenty of fresh clean water at all times.

When it does come to dogs, please be careful when it comes to the heat. Dogs are more sensitive to heat than we are, and its important to keep them cool and safe in summer weather. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. We hope you know this, but NEVER leave your dog in the car in the heat without strong air conditioning on. Even with windows open, the car can become hot enough to begin heat stroke within minutes, and this can be true even when we are not in a heat wave.
  2. Keep your dog indoors in as comfortable a temperature as you can provide, and make sure he/she has access to clean water at all times.
  3. Before you walk your dog on pavement, feel the ground with the back of your hand. If you can’t keep your hand on the pavement comfortably for a slow count of ten, then its too hot to have your dog walk on that surface.
  4. Choose lower heat times of day for exercise and keep it shorter. Walking your dog in the early morning or later evening can cut down significantly on his/her heat exposure.
  5. Allow your dog to swim and/or wet them down before they walk so the evaporating water can help to cool them. Just be careful that they don’t drink excessively when they swim. Excessive hydration can be dangerous for your dog and they are at higher risk when they are swimming.
  6. You can exercise your dog indoors by playing games with them, having them play with a puzzle toy, or practicing your training to give them mental stimulation.
  7. Give your dog frozen treats like Frosty Paws to help keep them cooler on a hot day.
  8. When the store is open, feel free to bring your friendly dog in for a visit, we’ll be sure to keep the AC turned up for you!

We hope that all of our readers stay cool and safe this summer!

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