Dog Days of Summer: Pet Heat Safety

By Carmen Wright, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Dear Owner,

Listen, I know you like summer because of outdoor barbecues and swim parties, but don’t forget about me. Now, it’s not that I’m ungrateful for the hamburger patties you “drop” off the grill or the hot dog buns you conveniently leave on the edge of the countertop—thank you for those. But when it gets this hot, don’t forget I’m sporting a full fur coat and bare feet. Here is a quick list of do’s and don’ts to keep your furry four-legged friends happy.
DON’T…

• leave me in the car—it’s like an oven in there. And if you see one of my fellow furry friends in a car, track down their owner immediately (and give them a good talking to).
• take me on walks when it’s hot outside—remember those bare feet? A nice morning walk or evening stroll will do.
• leave me outside for more than a few minutes—even with shade, I’m going to get hot pretty quickly. Now if you installed that dog door you’ve been promising…
• ignore me—if you see heavy panting, excessive thirst, uncoordinated behavior, or dizziness, chances are I’m suffering from a heatstroke. If that’s the case, take me inside, put some ice packs on me and give me small amounts of water and ice cubes.

DO…

• brush me or give my fur a good trim so I’m a little bit cooler in this weather.
• leave me plenty of water and make sure I have shade when I’m outside. A fan is nice, but it’s not going to help me cool down very well.
• put ice cubes in my water, or better yet, make some peanut butter popsicles!
• wet my neck, feet, and belly so I can cool down faster. If we do go for a long walk, I wouldn’t object to wearing a cooling vest—it’s so much less embarrassing than that bumblebee costume you tried to get me in last year.
• make a plan for a power outage.
• download the Pet First Aid App from the American Red Cross. Those guys think of everything.

Oh!  And do keep dropping those hamburger patties, maybe even one with cheese on it?

Love,

Your Pet

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