Beat the Heat: Keep pets safe from overheating this summer

AS SUMMER deepens and temperatures continue to rise — the Metro’s temperature spiked to 35.2C on May 4, according to the weather bureau, with a heat index of a truly wilting 39C — people are not the only ones who suffer. Pet owners are now tasked to tap into their creative side and come up with different ways to help them and their pets beat the heat and avoid heat exhaustion over the next two months.

Dogs or cats who suffer from overheating will exhibit excessive panting or difficulty breathing. Dehydration can be found through symptoms such as a dry nose, visible tiredness, and sunken eyes. Additional symptoms also include pale gums, panting, bright red, gray, purple, or bluish gums, and a rapid pulse. If left untreated, pets can experience organ failure, which can be fatal. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian right away if their dog or cat exhibits any of these symptoms.

Committed to educating the Filipino pet community on proper pet care, the Pet Food Institute (PFI) shares tips on how pet owners can protect their pets from overheating.

1. Cool Your Pet Inside and Out

Pet owners must remember that pets sweat differently than humans. Dogs and cats both sweat through their paws, and may pant or self-groom to help bring down their body heat. When the temperature rises, pet owners are encouraged to bring their pets in a well-ventilated indoor area where the air can freely circulate.

Another way for pet owners to help bring down their pets’ body temperature is to wrap a wet towel around their pet, or enjoy time in a colder body of water, such as a pool or cool bath.

2. Limit Exercise on Hot Days

Pets require regular exercise regardless of the season. During the summer, owners can design and come up with fun ways to exercise their pets without exposing their four-legged companions to too much heat.

Owners must take note that if the floor is too hot for them to touch, then it is hotter on the pets’ paws, therefore they have to adjust the intensity and duration of their walks to ensure their pets’ overall wellbeing.

On very hot days, pet owners should consider walking their dogs very early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is much lower. Dog owners may also opt to have their pets play on the grass instead of the hot asphalt so their dogs’ soft and sensitive paws are safe from the heat.

While exercising or playing with their pets, owners must never forget to provide enough fresh water for their pets.

3. Provide Ample Water

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, especially during  summer. Therefore, owners must give them plenty of fresh, cool, and clean water to help quench their thirst. Having a bottle of cold water, as well as a clean pet bowl, is recommended to prevent pets from drinking dirty water from pools or standing water when they’re outside the house. Several products are now commercially available to help owners and their pets stay cool during the summer.

Pet owners should always keep an eye for signs of overheating. If their pets are unresponsive, or showing signs such as wheezing, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even collapse, pet owners must immediately contact and bring their dogs or cats to the nearest vet and seek the proper treatment.