Summer here is a brief but wonderful season! Manitobans are known to take advantage of our province’s short but sweet period of heat, sunshine, and so much green! That feeling of elation that comes with heading outside to walk the dog while wearing shorts and sandals is familiar to all of us! Except your pooch, he can’t change his furry coat to something more summer friendly. So let’s discuss how to keep your pets safe and cool this summer in Manitoba!
- We’re going to start with the big one! Never ever leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a parked car can rise 30 degrees in 20 minutes. Whether it’s in the shade, the windows are left slightly open or you are just going to run into the store for a minute, it’s simply not safe!
- Make sure your pet always has access to clean drinking water. Bring water on walks or excursions. Dogs and cats can only sweat from their paws pads, leaving their primary method of cooling down to panting. Excessive panting in dogs is an early sign of overheating. Panting in cats is a serious sign of stress/ overstimulation/ possible overheating. In both cases, steps should be taken to bring the animal to a cool, quiet place to calm down. If panting continues, a veterinary professional should be consulted.
- Take care of that coat! Dogs who have hair (poodles, bichons, shih tzus, etc) should be well groomed and their hair should be kept clipped or mat free. Dogs who have fur or double coats (shepherds, huskies, collies, etc) should be brushed regularly to keep their coats free and clean of “undercoat.” These breeds should not be shaved down to keep them cool. The coats on these dogs actually work as insulation against the summer heat. Any mats should be removed from dogs or cats by professionals. Keeping your pet’s coat clean and mat free makes it easier to check daily for pesky dangerous parasites like ticks.
- Summer is the season of the mosquito so make sure your dog or cat who goes outdoors is on heartworm preventative medication. Heartworm is a deadly parasite that is transmitted to dogs and cats through mosquitoes. Prevention is so much easier than treatment so talk to your vet!
- Don’t walk or run your dog during the hottest part of the day, usually between noon and 4pm. Dogs are always ready for fun so they won’t say no but midday summer temperatures and humidity can be overwhelming. Pavement can burn paws and panting will not cool a dog down quickly enough. This is especially true for dogs who are overweight or have shorter snouts such as bulldogs and pugs.
- If your dog loves to swim, great! Be aware of currents in natural bodies of water and your dog’s own individual swimming ability. Consider a doggy lifejacket, getting your dog used to wearing it at home and in the yard before real life use. If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool, do not leave your dog or cat with it unattended. Make sure your pool has a ramp or way for your pet to exit safely.
- Be aware of what pesticides, chemicals and plant foods are used to keep lawns and gardens looking great! These products can often be toxic to animals so keep your pets away from these areas until they have been cleared.
- Summer is the season for fireworks and thunderstorms. While these displays, man and nature-made are dazzling to people, they are simply scary for pets. Not understanding where the sound is coming from, many pets panic and can injure themselves or become lost. Keep your pet safely home and indoors during fireworks and thunderstorms, give them a nice treat to distract them and play calming music. If your pet is particularly unsettled, consider trying a Thundershirt, which applies calming pressure and helps pets feel safe.
Paws For Thought encourages you to take time this season to safely enjoy the great outdoors, and hopefully you can bring your furry family member along for the ride!
Jessica Thompson, Paws For Thought Boutique For Pets, 1051 Main St, Winnipeg, Ph#204-421-7297