Spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors is one of the joys of living in the Lowcountry.
While it's natural to want to include our furry companions in the fun, rising heat this time of year also causes a rise in danger. In addition, many of us are heading out of town on vacation which requires some preparation for your pets whether they are along for the ride or not. We encourage you to review and act on our summer safety and travel tips below so that the hot sun doesn't threaten your pet's safety and your vacation isn't impacted by a planning oversight.
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Heat
- Avoid taking your dog for a walk or playing ball in the heat of the day. Early morning and evening exercise is ideal.
- The hot sun can cause asphalt, concrete, and sand to reach temperatures that will burn your pet's paws. Be mindful of this as you are walking outside in shoes. Your dog doesn't have the same protection and could easily burn his or her paws. It is best to find grass dirt or shaded regions that are safe for your pet.
- Always be sure to travel with enough water and a collapsible water bowl. Whether you run into car trouble or the short walk you were planning becomes a long one, your pet (and you) may end up needing more water than you anticipated. Keep frozen water bottles stocked in the freezer so you always have some handy for traveling.
- Certain breeds are more prone to heatstroke (see below), and extra caution should be taken during the summer months to keep them safe. Brachycephalic dogs (think short noses and smaller nasal passages) such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, and Boston terriers have a more difficult time breathing due to their anatomy. Pets with certain medical conditions can also be at increased risk during the warm summer months, so please be sure to ask at your next visit if there are any precautions you will need to take.
Preventing and Managing a Heatstroke
- Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. The temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels, even on milder days. Pets can easily succumb to heatstroke and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival.
- If you cannot immediately get your pet to a veterinarian, move him or her to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight.
- Place a cool or cold, wet towel around your pet's neck and head (do not cover his or her eyes, nose, or mouth).
- Remove the towel, wring it out, rewet it and rewrap it every few minutes as you cool the animal.
- Pour or use a hose to keep water running over the animal's body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs) and use your hands to massage its legs and sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat.
- Transport your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Traveling with (or without) your pet can be fun, but be sure to keep these tips in mind whether you are taking a cross-country road trip or just headed to the beach for a little fun in the sun.
- Make sure to have an up-to-date rabies tag. It's also a good idea to have an ID tag for each pet you are traveling with that includes the pet's name, your name, cell phone number, and address.
- If you have recently moved or adopted a new pet, now is a good time to update your pet's microchip information. This is the best way to make sure a lost pet finds his or her owner in case they are lost. Let us know if you need a microchip before you take off for vacation this summer.
- Before heading out, please make sure dogs have a collar that fits properly without being able to slip out. Cats should have carriers with a secure top and door and no missing attachment pieces.
- Remember to keep all of your vaccine information handy, whether on the road or prior to boarding. You can find all of your pet's vaccine records through our pet portal.
Let Us Help
Need help understanding your pet's risks in the summer heat and preparing for travel plans? Request an appointment online for individualized recommendations. The Bees Ferry staff wishes all of you a fun and safe summer!