KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Popsicles, play dates, summer camps, “Slip ’n Slides,” and don’t forget pool parties, road trips and camping trips: These are just a few of the simple joys of summer. While reveling in all the fun, it’s important to remember that pets have special needs when the weather heats up and we hit the road. Extreme heat can be just as hazardous to pets as it can be to their people, so keep these potentially life-saving tips in mind as the sun beats a little harder and the “Dog Days” of summer take hold!
1. Feet first and drink up: When cooling down your pup with the hose or a few splashes from the pool, remember that pets release heat by sweating through their feet (and by panting). Keeping their paws, legs and tummies cool from the feet up can help lower body temperatures. A hard, plastic kiddie pool, with a surface that little claws can’t pierce, is a great way to cool animals down and keep those tails wagging. Hydration stations are also a smart way to avoid a late-afternoon swoon. Put drinking stations around the yard to keep your pets well hydrated and refill water bowls often with fresh water or invest in a refillable fountain.
2. Pupsicles! Popsicles aren’t just for the kiddos anymore. These “Pup-sicles” from the Humane Society are DIY popsicles-for-pupsdelicious and a great way to help your pet cool off and stay happy this summer. Sweet, cold treats can even be frozen in the shape of doggie-bones, thanks to pawsitively adorable silicone pan molds.
3. Along for the ride: Heading out on the highway and bringing along a canine or feline friend? Make a list and check it twice before you hit the road. From car hammocks to “Doggles,” to basics like a crate, leash and snacks, take a look at this Road Trip Essentials Checklist before your trip begins (http://www.invisiblefence.com/blog/corp/2016-june/before-you-embark-planning-is-key-to-stress-free).
4. Leave car sickness behind: Motion sickness doesn’t just strike people. Pets are susceptible to tummy aches when traveling, too, and anxiety is one big reason why. Help ease their nerves by making sure they have some comforts of home, such as a blanket that smells like you or a favorite toy. When using a crate, it’s flying-highbetter to use one they’re familiar with rather than renting one for the ride.
5. Flying high: If you’re taking dogs or cats on a flight, direct is best. Book early and look for direct flights when possible. Make sure your pet and crate are both ID’ed with all key contact information. Calm their fears with a favorite chew toy and something that smells like home, and make sure the carrier is the right size: large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in comfortably.
6. Stay in shape safely: It’s important to maintain your animal’s health and fitness all year round, but in the hot summer months, avoid intense mid-day sun and opt for walks in the morning or evening before the temperatures go sky high. A fun game of fetch in the hallway or up and down the stairs is a great way to give your pet the exercise they need without breaking a sweat.
7. Beat the heat (on the pavement!): Paw pads may look tough, but they can blister and peel when exposed to extreme heat. A good rule of thumb for your pets’ paws? Place the back of your hand on the pavement and if you can’t hold it there for five seconds, then it’s too hot for bare paws. Go for walks in the grass or buy your pooch some stylish booties and avoid walking in the prime heat of the day.
8. Know the signs of heatstroke: Heavy panting, accelerated heartbeat, problems breathing, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, fever, dizziness and lack of coordination are just some of the signs of heatstroke in animals. If you notice excess salivation, a deep red or purple tongue or vomiting, cool your pet down and go directly to a veterinarian because they may be suffering from a heatstroke.
9. Scary summer storms: A summer thunderstorm or heat wave can cause power outages that take out the air conditioning, but cooling pads and kiddie pools are good to have on hand and inexpensive ways to keep cool on even the hottest days. Also, bring your pet to an area of safety and comfort when the thunder starts to roll in.
10. Made in the shade: If you and your pup are headed to the beach or don’t have natural shade from trees to help keep internal temperature down, consider making your own shade with the help of a pop-up tent or umbrella. Know that being in direct sunlight makes the air feel 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is, so when playing outside, pets will be much happier and safer in the shade.
11. Microchip and ID collar, just in case: Summer is a prime season for pets to lose their way and go missing from home. And fireworks and storms are two of the leading culprits, as animals become frightened and run or seek cover as a result of loud noises. Microchipping and secure ID collars are two musts to keep them safe and reunite lost animals with their owners.
Brought to you by Invisible Fence Brand.