Monday, June 13, 2011

Caring For Your Pet In The Summer Heat

With the temperatures rising I thought it would be a good idea to write about your pets care in the summer heat. As a Vet Tech, I can't tell you how many pets I've seen with complications from the heat and sun, and owner's lack of knowledge. I've seen a cat pass away, from heat stroke and dehydration because it's owner had left it outside in high 90's (f) heat for one day.

First and foremost, pets can get sunburned! And you should be applying sunscreen to them. Baby sunscreen is best as far as human choice go, 30+ SPF. The ultimate choice would be a sunscreen specifically formulated for pets. And just like with us, make sure its rubbed in completely. Apply anywhere you see pink on your pet; nose, ears, belly, etc. Your pet will peel if sunburned, and they can get skin cancer also! Some breeds are more susceptible, like Pit Bulls, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Boxers to name a couple. If your pet developed a rash, or itchiness where you've applied the sunscreen - discontinue use.

Make sure when outside, pets always have access to water and shade. And don't leave them outside in the sun and heat for an extended period of time. If you are taking your pet outside for exercise, do so in the cooler parts of the day - early morning, or later afternoon. Watch out for signs of your pet overheating, panting, tongue hanging far out of mouth, lethargy are a few of the most common signs.

You can also check your pet for signs of dehydration. Gums should be moist, not dry, and if your pet has pink on his/her gums that part should be bright pink, not pale or white. Also, you can check for dehydration by pinching their skin at the base of their neck and pulling it up very slightly - it should go right back down to normal right away, if it stays raised, or "tented", your pet is dehydrated.

Any signs of sunburn, overheating, or dehydration take your pet to your veterinarian right away, if they cant, or wont see you that day - go to an emergency vet. Your pet may be very sick from the heat exposure, and needs to be examined, and treated accordingly.

Be smart, and treat your pets as you would want to be treated in their paws. If it's too hot for you to be hanging outside, it's too hot for them also. Enjoy your summer with your fur babies!

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