Summertime is a great time for outdoor activity, both for you and your pet. Unfortunately, pets have a harder time keeping cool than we do when the temperatures soar. Protect your pet from the hot weather with these timely tips.
Keep Your Pet Safe in the Car
There’s much focus on the dangers of leaving children in a hot car, but the same holds true for your pet. You should never leave your pet in a parked car, especially on hot days. Not even for a minute, and not even with the air conditioner blasting. According to PETA, on an 85°F day, the temperature inside a car with the windows slightly open can reach 102°F within ten minutes! Your pet can certainly experience major health problems under those conditions.
Block Your Pet’s Skin from the Sun
You may not realize it, but, like humans, your pet can develop skin cancer from being out in the sun frequently. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second-most common cancer in cats, even with fur providing some protection from the sun. Treat your pet as you would yourself by protecting it with sunblock throughout the day (every three to four hours) to the least fur-covered spots. And make sure that you use pet sunblock and read the labels, since ingredients such as zinc oxide can be toxic to animals.
Exercise Early or Late with Your Pet
You get hot quickly while exercising out in the summer sun, so you can imagine what it’s like for your fur-covered pet. Even worse, many pets will continue to play in the heat until they suffer exhaustion. So exercise wisely by taking your pet out during cooler hours: before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. And remember to hydrate. Take a bottle of water with you when walking your pet, and take breaks in the shade for the sake of both you and your four-legged friend.
Protect Your Pet’s Paws
Have you ever dared to walk down the driveway in the middle of a sweltering summer day? Not fun. In the summer, asphalt absorbs heat, so it can get very hot very quickly, and pet paws have a high chance of developing burns and blisters. In fact, when the temperature is 77°F, the asphalt temperature can skyrocket up to 125°F, depending on the conditions. So take this test before heading out for a walk with your pet: Carefully press the back of your hand against the asphalt on which you plan to walk your pet, and try to keep it there for seven seconds. (But don’t hurt yourself—as soon as it feels hot, let go!) If your hand feels too hot within this time, you’ll know that it may not be a good idea to have your pet walk on the blacktop.