Ahhhhh…..the warmer weather has arrived!!
And like the changes in the weather, pet parents should consider the changes in their furr-baby's needs when they're enjoying time together in the Great Outdoors!!
For the safety and wellbeing of both you and your pets, always try (as much as possible) to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store for the day!
Once the warmer temperatures of spring and summertime arrive, it’s important to understand how our fur babies handle this change in the weather and make sure we provide for their needs.
Not all dogs are suited for extreme heat and you must be honest with yourself for the safety of your pup.
And though cats generally do whatever the mood for that day invites, as a responsible pet owner, providing a safe and comfortable place from which they can rule their kingdom is important.
Dogs and cats body temperatures naturally run warmer than humans. The normal body temperature for cats falls in the range of 99.5-102.5 Fahrenheit, while normal body temperature of a dog is about 101.3 Fahrenheit.
It’s very important to keep that in mind when you’re out in warmer weather.
For dogs and cats, sweating is not an option!!
Dogs actually only sweat from their nose and paws, making this a very inefficient cooling process. Just spraying water on your dogs hair/fur will not provide cooling results either.
Their beautiful coats are designed to draw liquids and vapors away from their skin, so dissipating heat through evaporation will not occur.
However, wetting or cooling areas on their bodies without hair/fur will bring better results because blood vessels in the skin dilate when trying to cool the body.
This is why you will find dogs and cats sprawled out with their hairless bellies on cool surfaces!
So what else helps them? "Panting"
Panting is the primary method dogs use to regulate their body temperature. Their body undergoes several steps that make panting a reasonable cooling source. Initially, the tongue’s surface area and respiratory rate increases. This causes an increase in airflow and saliva. Evaporation of the saliva occurs and body heat starts to diminish.
Cats don’t generally pant the same way dogs do, and certainly not all the time. To a cat…that’s just sooooo undignified!
But it happens! Just like dogs, cats sometimes pant after periods of strenuous exercise, or when they’re overly warm. Certain cat breeds are known to “pant” more often than others: Himalayans, Persians, Maine Coon, and other long-haired breeds are most susceptible.
Generally, cat panting is a little more discreet than dog panting. Most cats aren’t too over the top, drooling everywhere or making such a racket you can’t hear the TV.
It’s a misconception that cats sweat through their paws. Instead, cats handle sweating much like their human subjects. Always proficient at personal hygiene, cats are grooming themselves regularly for numerous reasons. In warmer temperatures, the saliva from their tongues acts like sweat that cools their body when it evaporates.
It is very important to be mindful of possible heat stroke and/or dehydration in your pet. Always make sure to have adequate amounts of fresh water available for whatever activity you’re planning to share with you best buddy!! Dehydration is a symptom of heat stroke and is a serious underlying issue that causes many emergency medical visits. Dehydration can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, illness and fever. But in this post, we are focusing on how heat stroke and inadequate water intake causes dehydration.
Preventing heat stroke and dehydration can save your pet’s life. Recognizing the signs and how knowing how to test for this can be very helpful at that moment and is extremely important! The following are just a few signs of dehydration and possible heat stroke:
If you notice any of these signs and they seem extreme, seek medical attention immediately and they can assist you! If medical attention is not readily available or it’s not an emergency situation, here are a few suggestions to help with cooling down your pet:
Hot pavement….Asphalt….Tarmac….in some cases the sand….etc.
Hot surfaces are one of the primary causes of paw pad damage. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for theirs as well!
Test the ground surface temperature before taking you buddy out for a stroll with this simple trick: Hold the back of your hand against the pavement
(or whatever surface you’ll be walking on) for seven seconds. Again, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
If hot pavement or other warm surfaces are encountered often, it would be a great idea to purchase a quality pair of pet booties.
These stylish little accessories are perfect for the cold weather too!!
And just one last thing........
Why do people leave their pets unattended in vehicles? It’s understandable that you want to spend every possible moment with your furry best friend...
But a pet should never ever be left alone in a car, truck, SUV, camper, hauler or any other vehicle!! The temperatures WILL elevate rapidly in an enclosed vehicle, even if it’s pleasant when you’re standing outside and even if you leave the windows cracked! And it’s equally as dangerous and cruel to tie-up a dog in the open bed of a truck that’s parked in the sun! If your travels will be taking you somewhere that your beloved pet is not allowed, they are safer staying at home. The risk of heat stroke and death is too great…what if something unexpected happens and you get detained? The heartbreak of their suffering and possible death would be devastating.
If you should ever come across a helpless pet in a vehicle, please do the right thing and help save that poor furr baby from a miserable, suffering and dangerous situation. First and at the very least if you feel that’s all you’re able to do, call 911 to report the situation. In most states, you can legally break the window. And in many areas, it’s considered animal cruelty, making it an illegal and punishable act. We are their voices, their protectors and it’s our responsibility to always care for them and do what’s in their best interest.
So let’s get out and enjoy life with our buddies!!!!
Let’s follow their lead and live every day to the fullest!!!!
Having the proper gear and valuable information to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe will make your experiences memorable ones!!!