This intense summer heat can be tough for any Michigander to beat. For our furry friends, however, it is way tougher. Unless you own a desert tortoise or a camel (or some other exotic hot weather-loving creature), your pet is susceptible to heat exhaustion with temps this high! As their owner and master and protector it is up to you to make sure your pet is not just safe, but comfortable in the warmer months. Let’s start with some basics to help your pets beat the heat this summer:
How Hot is Too Hot?
For cats and dogs, 80-85 degrees can be pushing it! Instead of exposing your pets to a lot of activity take it easy on hot days. Keep the walks close to home or just play in the backyard and save the longer park visits for a cooler day. Make sure your pets have access to shade and cool water whenever they need it at home. If your dog likes splashing around, consider having a kiddie pool just for your pup!
If you are going out for the day or even just a few hours leave the AC or a fan on to provide quick relief for your pet. Avoid walking your dogs midday when temps are at their highest; stick early mornings or evenings. Hot pavement can hurt and even burn paws! If you have a cat try to keep them more indoors midday and let them roam once the temperatures drop.
As a rule of thumb, never ever leave your dog or cat in a parked car on a hot day! The temperatures in cars can skyrocket on a hot day (yes, even with the AC on!). Even if it feels ok to you don’t take the risk with your furry friend.
Know the Signs!
Your ability to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion in pets could end up saving a life! Warning signs for Dogs are rapid heart rate, lethargy, lack of coordination, glazed eyes, and excessive drooling. Loss of consciousness is a major warning sign! If you notice these behaviors get your dog into cooler air, give them some water, and if you can, wet their armpits, neck, and between their hind legs with a wet cloth. If you are outside on a walk or at the park it is time to head home and blast that AC on the way!
Kitties present the warning signs a little differently. A sign that your cat is hot (but not yet overheating!) will be your cat behaving restlessly as they try to find a cool spot. Cats can also begin grooming excessively to cool down. The real warning signs are rapid breathing, vomiting, red tongue and mouth, lethargy, and trouble moving. If you notice these signs act fast and get your cat to a cool environment, soak them with cool (not cold!) water, and give them all the water they want. Then for safety take them to the vet!
Treats to Beat the Heat
Our pets love cool treats on hot summer days as much as we do! While we would love to share our ice cream, there are much healthier options. Here are a few Simple & Quick recipes to make some special snacks to cool down your special furry friends:
Peanut Butter Ice Treats
-1 cup peanut butter
-Half a ripe banana
In a bowl mix up the peanut butter with a splash of water. Mash the banana into the mixture until everything is mixed together. Spoon the mixture into a ice cube tray and let freeze. Once frozen they are ready to be eaten!
Meat Stock Freezes
-Low sodium Chicken or Beef stock
-Chopped carrots, peas, squash, or potato (or any other veggies your dog loves!)
If your dog loves ice cubes this is the treat for them! Super simple to make too. Just get an ice cube tray and toss a few veggies into each cube. Fill up with the broth and freeze. Perfect for a quick and yummy cool down.
Coconut Oil Coat Treats
This treat is the perfect cool down if your pup loves coconut oil. Coconut Oil can help maintain coat shine and health. Dogs skin can get so dry in the summer, so this is a good treat that can provide relief inside and out. Heat the coconut oil so it liquefies. Take an empty ice cube tray or a silicone candy tray and spoon a little applesauce and a few blueberries into each spot. Pour the coconut oil over the fruit and put in the freezer. Treats can be served as soon as they are frozen.
With all this extra care and attention your pets may end up loving the summer weather! Remember to put health and safety before fun and make choices that put your pet’s health (and your own) as the top priority. Look out for the heat exhaustion warning signs and act fast! An emergency vet trip is a major summer bummer! With these Simple & Quick ways to help your pets beat the heat, you and your furry friends can enjoy everything a Michigan summer has to offer!