The Dog Days of Summer
It’s a term we hear frequently, usually uttered with disdain or from the mouth of a baseball commentator during a particularly steamy mid-season game, “Oh, these hot and miserable dog days of summer!”
There are a few theories on how this term was coined. The first being is that it’s simply too hot outside, it’s not even fit for a dog to lay in. (Although that’s a little condescending to dogs, don’t you think?) The other, and the most widely accepted theory, comes from Greek and Roman astrology; the rising star “Sirius,” associated with canines, is also linked to this time of year when the northern hemisphere experiences drought, heat, lethargy, and thunderstorms.
Regardless of one’s preferred Dog Days theory, we can all agree that summer presents us pet parents with a few safety challenges for our furry friends. But don’t fret, pet lovers, creative schedule changes and a few habit tweaks can ensure our pets are “livin’ easy” all summer long.
Car Rides and Errands
The grocery list is done, the shoes come on, the keys are grabbed, and here come the puppy dog eyes. Oh, it’s so hard to leave them home alone!
Don’t be tempted by those sad eyes. Hot cars are serious danger risks for pets. Yes, even if it’s just for a moment and Double Yes, even with the windows cracked. Plus, according to the ASPCA, it’s even illegal. Dog overheating can happen in a matter of minutes.
As of May 2018, 28 states have laws concerning companion animals left unattended in parked vehicles under dangerous conditions, such as intense weather conditions.
Never leave pets in hot cars. Infographic Credit: ASPCA
Some Don’t Like It Hot
A car interior is not the only dangerous place to leave an animal. A mere three degree rise in temperature can put animals at risk. Puppies, kittens, senior pets and critters with a medical condition are more sensitive, but even healthy pets can become quickly dehydrated or experience heatstroke.
Signs of heatstroke include: heavy panting and breathing, bright red gums, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, disorientation, seizures, and coma.
Tips to Keep Pets Healthy, Happy and Hydrated
While heatstroke is serious business, keeping pets healthy, happy and hydrated during the hot months is not! A few simple schedule and habit changes will ensure your furry friends stay cool:
· Walk dogs in the morning before it heats up or after the sun goes down.
· Asphalt and sidewalks get hotter than ambient temperatures and paw pads are susceptible to burns. Press your hand to the sidewalk or road for a few seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws.
· Leave pets home while you run errands. It takes mere minutes for interior car temps to rise to dangerous levels.
· If you’re out in the yard, make sure pets have plenty of water and shade.
· Wash and refill water bowls daily with fresh, clean water to inspire more hydration. You can even try pet water fountains!
· Dogs and cats with pale noses or ear tips can actually get sunburned. You can try a pet-friendly sunscreen, but keeping pets out of the hot, midday sun is best.
· If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, bring it into air conditioning. You can immerse your pet in cool water (not cold water or ice) and contact a veterinarian. Hello Ralphie pet health professionals are available any day of the week.