Dog on block of iceWe are proud of Knoxville’s status as America’s most pet-friendly community and, to properly enjoy our animal friends, we feel it’s absolutely critical to protect them every day of the year. Weather-related risks occur throughout the year, but summer’s heat is a top offender.

As we head into the long days of summer, we’ve listed the following summer safety tips to keep your pet as cool and comfy as the day is long!

Ideas for Pet Summer Safety

Forecasters are predicting that this summer will be hotter than previous years, so your pet will require consistent monitoring for his or her wellbeing. You probably do that already, but to make sure your pet doesn’t suffer from heat-related injuries, we offer the following ideas for pet summer safety:

  • If we haven’t seen your pet for a while, consider bringing him or her in for a routine wellness exam. We can run a heartworm test and establish or maintain good parasite prevention to get your pet’s summer started off on the right paw.
  • On your errands around town, you may be in the wonderful habit of bringing your pup along; however, this practice during the summertime is a big no-no. Temperatures quickly rise to triple digits inside a parked vehicle, so be sure to take your dog out of the car on your errands, or leave him or her at home.
  • Offer shade, and fresh, cool water throughout the day
  • Limit your pet’s outdoor physical activities to the cooler morning and evening hours
  • Set up a wading pool or turn on a sprinkler to keep your pet wet and cool throughout the day
  • Steer your pet clear of hot pavement; his or her paws could blister or burn easily.

What Is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening condition that is characterized by an animal’s rising temperature. Although your pet does sweat through his or her paw pads, panting is the primary cooling mechanism. If your pet becomes too hot, the following symptoms are often noticeable:

  • Heavy panting that cannot be controlled or calmed, even when lying down
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Respiratory distress
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Coordination problems
  • Extreme thirst
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Seizure
  • Dark red or purple tongue
  • Rectal temperature of 105 degrees (normal is 101.5 degrees)

If you see any of these red flags, call us immediately. Your pet may need prompt emergency care to prevent or minimize organ damage or failure after excessive heat exposure.

Who Is At Risk?

All animals can become very sick from heatstroke, but the following traits present a higher risk:

  • Very young or elderly
  • Overweight or obese
  • Pre-existing heart or respiratory disease
  • Brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Boxers, Boston terriers, and Bulldogs) already have breathing challenges that are compounded by panting
  • Dark or thick-coated breeds

What You Can Do

If your pet has been exposed to excessive heat, do your best to cool him or her down by providing a cool, shady spot, and cool water to drink. You may also cool your pet down by:

  • Direct a fan toward your pet’s body
  • Place wet towels on his or her coat, especially on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and around the groin area.
  • Wet your pet’s ears and paws

Pet Summer Safety

Your furry friend deserves the best care possible, and that includes the prevention of heat-related illnesses. Make only happy memories this year by following our pet summer  safety precautions and, as always, call us with any questions or concerns.