By Emily Daigle
The summer can be a great time to spend outside, however it is very important to take safety precautions for yourself, pets, livestock, and even local wildlife. The following is a list of tips to stay cool and calm in the summer heat.
- Water, ALWAYS
It is extremely important to stay hydrated! Dehydration can be very harmful and even fatal due to heat. Provide an abundance of fresh, clean water in a shaded and easily accessible area. Add fresh ice often to ensure that the water stays cool outdoors. Carry water with you at all times in heat, and bring portable bowls for your pets on walks!
- Keep it cool
Stay out of direct sunlight as often as possible. Keeping outdoor animals in the shade and providing a cool area for them is very important to prevent overheating. If possible, bring pets indoors during hot summer days. If you are feeling uncomfortably warm, odds are that your pet is too.
- Watch where you walk
One of the most overlooked precautions to take when taking your pet for a walk is the dangerous heat of the ground. Asphalt can be 60 degrees warmer than the temperature outside! For example, if on average the temperature during the day is 100 degrees fahrenheit, then the asphalt can get up to 160 degrees. This is enough to cause severe degree burns to your pet’s already very sensitive paws. Reconsider how you take walks by switching to morning or evening times when the ground is cooler or by avoiding pavement altogether. Pet booties are a safe (and fashionable) alternative as well!
- Take a dip
Placing a kiddie pool in a shaded area for your dog or livestock is a fun way to make sure they stay cooled off. Also taking walks or spending the day at a safe, moving body of water is great for staying out of the daytime heat.
- Beware of fleas and ticks
Warm weather brings out these potentially dangerous pests. Check out our blog post Springtime Pests for more about how to prevent and exterminate fleas and ticks.
- Keep them comfortable
Many animals control their inner temperature through their feet. If your pet seems to be uncomfortably hot (i.e. panting excessively), try hosing off their feet or placing something filled with cool water for them to stand/lay in. This will help prevent heat strokes and exhaustion.
- Don’t forget about wildlife
It is important to remember the wildlife near your home that may need helping staying cool, too. Place a bowl of water or birdbath for wildlife to use if needed. But be sure to keep it far away enough from your home to prevent interactions with mosquitos.
- Hot cars
While it is never safe to leave an animal locked in a car with the windows rolled up, during the summer heat it can be quickly fatal. It only takes minutes for a dog to overheat and suffocate in a warm, locked car. If you absolutely HAVE to leave your pet in the car, be sure to leave the windows cracked, water available, and shade, or leave the car running with air conditioning. If you ever see an animal trapped in a hot car, please contact 911 as this can be considered animal cruelty.
Short-haired animals are especially prone to painful sunburns. Protect them with special sunscreen designed for animals to avoid the discomfort and possibility of skin cancer. See here for more on Horse Sunburns 101.
- Loud noises
One of the most common phobias amongst all animals is a fear of loud noises. Fireworks and thunderstorms are frequent in the summertime. Destructive behavior such as escaping their properties and even injuring themselves can occur while in fear of such loud noises. Be sure to keep them in a secure place to be watched over during these times.
11. Plan now for emergencies
Depending on your region, natural disasters such as wildfires and flooding are common in warmer months. Be sure to have an evacuation or shelter plan that includes your animals for safety.