Summertime brings warm weather, outdoor adventures, and fun for everyone in the family, including our four-legged friends. However, this season also presents unique challenges when it comes to wellness for pets. When you need insight on how to best care for your cat or dog during the summer months, Animal Care Center is here to assist! This guide will show you where to begin with summer pet wellness and when it’s time to contact a vet with concerns.

A Hydrated Pet is a Happy Pet

Hydration is the cornerstone of pet wellness, particularly during the balmy summer months. As temperatures rise, so too does the risk of dehydration, a dangerous condition that can cause discomfort for your pet and potentially lead to serious health problems. Keeping your pets properly hydrated is crucial to their overall health and energy levels, allowing them to enjoy the summer while staying safe.

Provide Plenty of Fresh Water

The simplest way to keep your pet hydrated is to make sure they have constant access to fresh, clean water.

  • Keep multiple water bowls throughout your house and garden. This ensures your pet has easy access to water no matter where they are.
  • Clean and refill the water bowls regularly throughout the day. This encourages your pets to drink more and keeps them safe from any bacteria or algae that might grow in standing water.
  • You could even consider getting a pet fountain. Many pets, cats in particular, prefer drinking running water.

Portable Water for Outdoor Adventures

If you’re heading out with your pet, it’s important to plan for their hydration needs as well.

  • Always carry a portable water bowl and a bottle of water when you take your pets out. There are collapsible bowls and water bottles with built-in troughs designed specifically for pets on the move.
  • Offer your pets water frequently during your outing, especially if they’re being active or if it’s particularly hot outside.
  • Remember, if you’re feeling thirsty, your pet probably is too!

Look for Signs of Dehydration

Part of keeping your pet hydrated is knowing how to spot the signs of dehydration.

  • Common symptoms of dehydration in pets include excessive panting, dry mouth and nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, your pet may show signs of confusion or even collapse.
  • Another way to check for dehydration is the skin elasticity test. Gently pinch your pet’s skin between your thumb and forefinger. In a well-hydrated pet, the skin will quickly spring back into place when released. If the skin holds the “pinched” shape for a few seconds, your pet may be dehydrated.
  • If you notice any signs of dehydration, give your pet water immediately and contact your vet.

Food Hydration

Remember, hydration isn’t just about water; it’s also about the foods your pet eats.

  • Many wet pet foods have high water content, making them a good option for boosting your pet’s hydration.
  • Adding pet-safe fruits and veggies to your pet’s diet can also provide an extra hydration boost. Cucumbers, watermelon (without seeds), and lettuce are all good choices.

Beat the Heat: Prioritizing Pet Comfort and Safety in Summer

As much as our pets enjoy basking in the warm glow of the summer sun, high temperatures can pose serious risks. Dogs and cats don’t sweat the same way humans do, so they can’t cool down as effectively. Heatstroke, sunburn, and paw pad burns are real dangers for pets during the summertime. Here’s how to ensure your pets beat the heat while enjoying their summer.

Avoid the Danger of Parked Cars

Extreme heat can turn a parked car into a death trap for a pet left inside.

  • Never, under any circumstances, leave your pets in a parked car during warm weather, even for a few minutes with the windows slightly open. The temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees F in just 10 minutes.
  • If you see a pet left in a hot car, try to find the owner or call local law enforcement or animal control for help.

Modify Walking Hours

Avoid walking your pets during the hottest part of the day, which is typically 3PM. Consider walking your dog (or cat!) with the following advice:

  • Opt for early morning or late evening walks when the temperatures are cooler.
  • Always touch the pavement with your hand before allowing your pet to walk on it. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.

Create a Cool Retreat

Your pets need a shady, cool place to retreat when the summer heat becomes too much. But how do you make a retreat that keeps your pets cool and happy?

  • If your pets spend a lot of time outdoors, ensure they have access to a shaded area at all times. This could be under a tree, a covered porch, or a special pet gazebo.
  • Indoors, keep the air circulating. Fans, air conditioners, or even an open window can help to keep the environment comfortable for your pets.

Explore Cooling Products

There are plenty of pet-specific products available to help your furry friends stay cool. No matter your pet’s preference,

  • Cooling mats filled with gel or water are a great addition to your pet’s favorite resting spots. They provide a cool surface for your pets to lie on and can lower their body temperature.
  • Cooling vests and bandanas can be soaked in cool water and put on your pet. They are especially useful for dogs when going out for a walk in the heat.
  • Paddling pools can also be a fun way for dogs to cool down. Just make sure the water is shallow and the pool is placed in a shaded area.

Protect from Sunburn

Pets can get sunburned too, particularly those with light-colored fur. Protect their skin with these helpful hints:

  • Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your pet’s skin if they’re going to be outside in the sun. Focus on areas with thin or no fur, like the belly and ears.
  • If possible, provide your pets with clothing designed to protect them from harmful UV rays.

wellness for pets

Healthy Diet, Happy Pet

Nutrition plays a key role in the wellness for pets, particularly during the summer when activity levels may increase.

  • Maintain a balanced diet for your pets. Consult your vet about potentially increasing portions if your pets are more active in the summer.
  • Consider adding pet-safe fruits and vegetables to your pets’ diet for extra hydration and nutrients.
  • Avoid giving your pets leftovers from your summer BBQ. Foods like onions, garlic, chocolate, and certain artificial sweeteners are toxic to dogs and cats.

Safe Summer Fun

While summer is a great time for outdoor activities, it’s crucial to ensure your pets’ safety while they’re having fun.

  • Keep your pets safe from harmful insects. Use pet-friendly bug sprays and check your pets for ticks after spending time outside.
  • If your dog enjoys swimming, always supervise them around pools, lakes, or oceans. Not all dogs are natural swimmers.
  • Protect your pets’ paws. Hot pavement can burn your pets’ sensitive paw pads. Consider using protective paw wax or booties.
  • When your pet spends time outside, be sure to keep them away from ingesting toxic plants. Take a look at our blog to learn more about pet-safe gardening.

Regular Vet Check-Ups

Regular vet visits are crucial in maintaining the wellness for pets and catching any potential health problems early on.

  • Schedule regular vet check-ups. Your vet can provide personalized advice based on your pets’ health history and breed.
  • Keep your pets’ vaccinations up to date. This is particularly important if they’re spending more time outside and potentially being exposed to more pathogens.
  • Ensure your pets are protected from parasites. Your vet can recommend the best flea, tick, and heartworm prevention methods.

Contact Animal Care Center for Summer Pet Wellness

There’s no better time than the start of the sunny season to ensure your beloved pets are in top shape for the adventures ahead. We invite you to book a summer vet check-up with Animal Care Center, where our dedicated staff and Dr. Otto H. Williams are ready to welcome your pets as members of our extended family.

At Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, we believe that every pet deserves compassionate and dedicated care. Our approach is more than just professional pet care; it’s a mission of kindness that prioritizes your pet’s wellness and happiness. Book an appointment with us today!