SHIELD DELICATE SKIN
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second most common in cats. Even though fur provides some protection from the sun, you should apply a pet sunblock every 3 to 4 hours to the least hair covered spots: bellies on dogs (especially ones who like to lie on their backs) and ears and around eyes on cats, which are also areas where malignant tumors are likely to show up. No need to apply sunscreen directly onto fur. Use products made specifically for pets, such as Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen ($18; epi-pet.com), which is safe for dogs – ingredients such as zinc oxide can be toxic to pets.
LOOK OUT FOR HEAT EXHAUSTION
If your dog shows signs of heat stress – heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs – don’t place her in ice cold water, which can put her into shock. Instead, move her to a cool, place, drape a damp towel over her body, rewet the cloth frequently, and get her to the vet as soon as you possibly can.
KEEP COATS LONG
While it may seem logical to cut your pet’s coat short, resist the urge. “If hair – even long hair – is brushed and not matted, it provides better circulation and helps regulate body temperature, “ says Rene Carlson, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
KEEP YOUR DOGS PAWS COOL
When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. As dog walkers, we are super careful about the heat and it’s effects on our summer walks. We keep all necessary walks in the hot sun to do “business” fast and shady as possible.
SHADE & WATER
Your dog should always have access to fresh drinking water and shade, particularly during the hot summer months. Our dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and cause heat stroke.
Even though antifreeze is something to watch out for year round, cars tend to overheat more and leak antifreeze during the summer. Pets find it delicious and even in very small amounts antifreeze is poisonous to dogs and cats. So be attentive when walking your dog around the neighborhood or letting your outdoor cat roam the streets.
NEVER, EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A HOT CAR
Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important! It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun!