Summer is approaching and the rising temperature may be putting your pet in danger. Because animals expel heat differently than humans, your pet requires special care as the weather warms. You can learn about the effect of heat on your pet and how to keep him or her safe in the upcoming months.
Your canine companion expel heat by panting. However, as air temperature approaches the body temperature of your animal (101°F/38°C), panting becomes useless in ridding heat. Heat and dehydration can cause serious consequences such as kidney failure, bleeding and seizures. If your canine’s tongue appears red, has thick saliva, vomits or has an irregular heartbeat, he or she may be having a heat stroke.
Here are some tips to prevent your dog from overheating.
- have walks early in the morning or late at night
- keep your dog hydrated
- do not keep your dog in a parked car
- take your dog swimming
- if you don’t have air conditioning at home, let your dog lay on a cool towel
Similar to dogs, cats also sweat insignificant amounts through their feet. Instead of panting, cats hide in cool areas when the weather gets too warm. An overheated feline suffers from similar ailments as an overheated canine from heat strokes to organ failure.
Here are some tips to prevent your cat from overheating.
- keep ice in your cat’s water bowl
- freeze a bottle of water, then put it in your kitty’s favorite lounge spot
- do NOT use cooling gel packs as they contain ingredients that are toxic to cats
- stroke your cat with a damp towel
- close the curtains
- as with dogs, restrain from leaving your cat in a parked car
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Amphibians and reptiles, even those native to deserts, are affected by the warm weather as well. Frogs, reptiles and lizards can die within a few hours of extreme sun exposure. Amphibians are especially vulnerable in dry conditions.
Here are some tips for keeping your exotic friend safe.
- keep ice gel packs in terrariums of particularly sensitive amphibians (such as a Fire Salamander)
- keep pet turtles hydrated with water bowls for drinking and soaking
- watch out for dehydration in small, insectivorous snakes and lizards
Because of species variation, make sure to research the needs of your specific animal.
Rats and Hamsters
Your rodent pet do best in relatively cooler climates. Rats do best between temperatures 60-77°F/15-25°C and hamsters between 65-78°F/18-25°C. Like the mammals mentioned above, rodent pets can suffer from heart attacks and kidney failure in severe heat.
- do NOT keep your animal in areas without ventilation or air conditioning (cellars, basements, attics…etc.)
- let them play in cool water
- sprinkle water on them
- keep ice bags or frozen water bottles against the cage