dog staying cool and hydrated

Summer Heat & Hydration Safety Tips for your Pets

We all love the summer heat and being outdoors with our pets. While pets should be exercised year-round, we often become more active when the weather gets warmer. But did you know that our pets are even more susceptible to dehydration than we are?

Dehydration is the loss of fluids to less than normal levels than what the body needs to properly function.

Tip for Staying Hydrated and Cool
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your pet has a hydrated and happy summer. Always ensure that a cool and fresh supply of water is available, whether your pets are indoors or outside. Putting ice cubes in their water bowl will help keep it cool longer. If they are outdoors, make sure that there is plenty of shade available such as under a tree. Dog houses can help trap the heat within the walls, so avoid allowing your dogs to enter them. Hosing your pets down with cool water can also help keep their body temperature down.

Outdoor Safety
It is imperative that people not leave their pets in parked cars. It doesn't matter if the windows are left open, the air conditioning on, or the vehicle parked in the shade etc., leaving any animal in a car can be very dangerous. If exercising your dog outdoors on really hot and humid days, consider exercising it earlier or later in the day, when the temperature is cooler, and reduce the length and intensity of the exercise. Don't push older or overweight dogs harder than they are used to, as the heat and humidity can have consequences. If the asphalt feels like it's burning your bare feet, then it's also likely burning your pet's paws. When outdoors, to avoid any burnt paws keep your pets on the grass. Always carry fresh and cool water for you both.

Signs of Dehydration
Your pet can show signs of dehydration in the following ways:
  • Lethargic
  • Panting in excess 
  • Changing behaviour
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth/nose 
  • Lack of skin elasticity
  • Delay in capillary refill time
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
At first, your pet may appear to be lethargic, panting in excess, changing behavior, have sunken eyes and a dry mouth/nose. The more serious signs of dehydration are a loss of elasticity in the skin and a delay in capillary refill time. Capillary refill time refers to the amount of time needed for the gums to return to their proper pink colour once pressure has been applied to them. The risk of dehydration increases if your pet has diarrhea or is vomiting.

Treatment: What to expect 
There are several methods veterinarians may use to treat your dog such as administering intravenous or subcutaneous fluids. Your vet will best determine what is right for your pet while making sure that dehydration was not caused by any other underlying issues.

Windsor Essex Vets
Should you notice a change in your pets’ behavior and you suspect the cause may be dehydration, then you should not delay in contacting your local veterinarians at the Belle River Animal Clinic and Lakeshore Animal Hospital. Your veterinarian will guide you through the appropriate steps to getting your pet to the animal clinic or hospital where they will be properly taken care of!