As what may be the hottest days of the summer reach the Okanagan and Shuswap, pet owners should consider ways to keep their furry friends cool.
According to Kim Monteith, a manager of animal welfare for the BC SPCA, it is up to pet owners to make choices that will preserve their animals’ health in the extreme heat.
Monteith said those who regularly bike or jog with their dogs should be aware that pavement can get very hot this time of year. The SPCA recommends choosing to exercise dogs earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler in order to reduce the risk of heatstroke.
There are a number of items unique to the summer season that it is recommended pet owners bring along on hikes or trips to the beach.
“Bring along a water bowl and water, and an umbrella for shade, a towel – both to dry off your pet and to give them an option of a place to lie down that’s not scorching hot,” Monteith says.
Frozen treats and kiddie pools full of cool water for dogs to use are also recommended this time of year.
It is recommended to leave dogs at home rather than taking them along on errands where they will have to be left in a car— even if it’s left in the shade with the windows down.
Some breeds of dogs are especially sensitive to the heat. According to the SPCA, dogs with short snouts such as pugs and bulldogs have trouble cooling themselves by panting panting. Dogs with thick fur coats should not be shaved in the summer as this increases likelihood of sunburn and heat stroke and, in some cases can permanently damage their coats. Senior dogs, overweight dogs and puppies are more sensitive to heat, as are dogs with dark coats.
Along with the heat there are other summertime hazards pet owners should be mindful of. It is recommended owners make sure their pet’s vaccinations are up to date to ward off viruses carried by other animals like raccoons which they may encounter while exploring the great outdoors. On long hikes, adequate food and water for dogs should be carried and the dangers of steep ledges, other animals, bugs and poisonous plants should be considered.
The SPCA recommends checking pets for ticks regularly after they are outside. Ticks should be removed immediately when they are found.
Bee stings on pets are another insect concern owners should be on the lookout for. In most cases, stings result in only mild swelling which can be treated with a cold compress, but the SPCA warns that sometimes animals can be severely allergic to stings and suffer the same anaphylactic shock the same way and allergic person does. According to the SPCA, if pets start to vomit within five to 10 minutes of a sting and their gums become pale, they may be going into anaphylactic shock and should get help from a vet immediately.