Vet Blog

Heat and Swimming Safety Tips for Pets in Cropwell, AL

June 03, 2020

With summer finally here, it's important to remember how dangerous the heat and sun can be for your pet.

Like us, they can fall victim to heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke if they spend too much time outside on warm days. And while the sun certainly plays a factor, it doesn't have to be out for the heat and humidity to become too much for your pet to handle. At Pell City Animal Hospital, we believe in keeping pet parents fully informed about the risks of heat and sun exposure for their dogs and cats, because our pets don't know the dangers like we do.

Read on to see our tips for keeping your pet cool and safe this summer without taking away the fun!

Recognizing Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heatstroke is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can affect any dog. However, some breeds are more vulnerable than others, such as English Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Boston Terriers. These breeds are "brachycephalic," which refers to their broad, flattened faces an abnormally short noses. This makes breathing and panting more of a challenge due to their narrower nostrils, elongated soft palate, and narrow windpipe.

Your dog might be suffering from heatstroke if they are:

  • Lethargic
  • Acting confused/disoriented
  • Panting and breathing heavily
  • Drooling
  • Struggling to stand/walk
  • Struggling to urinate
  • Vomiting or having diarrhea
  • Running an unusually high temperature
  • Showing physical signs such as a bright red tongue and gums

Call our animal hospital immediately if you suspect that your dog is experiencing heatstroke. Do not attempt to douse cold water on your pet or force them to drink ice water.

How to Help Your Pet Stay Cool and Avoid Heat Stroke

There are many precautions you can take to protect your pet from heatstroke, including:

  • NEVER leave them in a parked car at any time
  • Walking your dog early in the morning or at sunset when the air and pavement have cooled
  • Providing your pet with a steady supply of freshwater throughout the day
  • Setting up a sprinkler or small wading pool for your dog to enjoy out in the yard
  • Minimizing your pet's playtime and exercise outdoors
  • Using a cooling pad if you lack AC to keep your pet comfortable
  • Making sure your pet has plenty of shade to shelter in while they're outside
  • Keeping them inside as much as possible if the temperature is extremely high

Swimming Pool Safety

Your dog loves the water, so why not let them enjoy the swimming pool right alongside you? But before you let them jump in, use these tips to keep them safe.

  • Get a life jacket that fits your pet perfectly. This is especially important for breeds that are not as comfortable with swimming, like Pugs, Boxers, and Bulldogs (but every breed should have one).
  • Don't let your pet swim in the pool unattended.
  • Don't allow your pet to drink the water-make sure they have their own freshwater to drink.
  • No splashing or roughhousing while your dog is in the pool.
  • Don't leave your pet in the water too long.
  • Keep your pool blocked off so you're pet can't get into it on their own.