Summer is finally here! With the scorching sun and beautiful weather, it's only natural for us to want to bask in the warmth while it lasts. And for many activities we like to have our furry friends with us - who wouldn't?!
It's important to remember that our pets need to be able to cool off. For starters, they can't shed all their clothes when it gets hot out - try wearing a sweater when it's 30 degrees outside! Secondly, they don't sweat! Maybe a little through their paws, but otherwise not at all. To cool off, dogs pant more heavily and cats may be seen laying on cold floors in the shade or grooming more - their saliva acts like sweat in a way to cool down a bit.
One thing in particular which we caution against, is leaving pets in cars. Even if it's only for a few minutes to grab some groceries or a cold one from the store. The interior temperature of a vehicle goes up very quickly while baking in the sun, and animals can become quite distressed from heat, and in some instances die. Cracking a window does little to decrease the temperature. Unless you have someone with your pet and the air conditioning on, please avoid leaving your pets in the car on hot days. Drop them off at home first before running your errands.
Heat distress can be a serious issue in animals. Especially with brachycephalic dog breeds (the dogs with very short snouts). Respiratory distress and heat stroke are very real and very serious concerns. They often have trouble breathing and are snorty on good days, so the extra hard and fast panting when it gets hot can cause throat swelling and make breathing harder which can quickly become and emergency if not careful. This can happen in a hot car, or just when they are being overly active on a scorching hot day. Be sure to pack water with you, and provide lots of shade and rest as needed!
Enjoy the summer sunshine!