Keeping pets cool during the dog days of summer

By Bryan Eneas
July 15, 2017 - 8:32am

With summer underway and temperatures forecasted for break 30C this weekend, heat stroke and other temperature related illnesses are top of mind.

Our four legged friends are also vulnerable to the hot sun – and it stretches far beyond the potential risks of leaving an animal in a hot car.

Lorraine Serhienko, a registered veterinary technician with the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association said though summer is a great time to socialize with pets outdoors, pet owners should be prepared and plan ahead for the high temperatures to ensure the whole family stays safe.

She said dog owners who want to walk their furry friends should take care to walk in the shade and avoid hot surfaces like concrete or sand.

“If you put your hand on a bunch of sand, or on a sidewalk and you can't hold it there for longer than five seconds, it's probably too hot for your pet,” she said. “Try to find some grassy spots to walk them in.”

For animals who do have to be outside, Serhienko said guaranteeing there is access to water and shade at all times are the best way to ensure pets are safe.

Pet owners attempting to escape the heat at the lakes should know if their pet can swim and keep them well supervised around boats and bodies of water. Serhienko said being in the water is a great way to cool off, but it can also tire animals out faster when under the sun.

Summer is a great time to bring animals along on road trips for bonding experiences, but people making long road trips should stop and give their pets plenty of water and bathroom breaks along the way.

“If you do need to stop for any period of time, just make sure there's some way to keep them cool,” Serhienko said. “Be mindful of what the temperature is outside and what the temperature is in your vehicle.”

Indoor pets still need a cool place to go during hot spells too. Serhienko had a few suggestions for those without air conditioning or a basement.

“If you have ice packs or something like that, cover them them with a towel and stick them in a towel in a corner so they can lay on it if they want,” Serhienko said. “We also don't want to make them get too cold, so having it as an option rather than a 'have to' is a nice way to go about it.”



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