How to Keep Your Furry Friend Safe and Healthy in Summer Heat

The weather has started to get a little warmer, which means that our pets are more than ready to head outdoors. While our furry friends love to play outside when it's warm, they can face health problems when they spend a lot of time under the sun. That's why it's vital to follow a few essential tips – and avoid some mistakes.

Here's how to look out for your dogs and cats.

1. Have Water on Hand

When you're active throughout the summer, do you have a water bottle handy at all times? It's essential to drink enough water, especially when you're on the move. Our animals need to stay hydrated, too. When the temperature reaches specific highs, it's extra important. For example, dogs experience normal water loss every time they breathe or pant. When they can't immediately drink water to refuel, they become dehydrated.

Whether you let your pets outside at home or take them to play at a park, it's crucial to carry a filled water bottle with you. You shouldn't wait until your pet needs water, either. Keep your eye on them and offer water whenever necessary.

2. Avoid Sunscreen for Humans

Pets can suffer from sunburn, too. Like light-skinned humans, pets with white fur and skin are more susceptible to sunburn than other animals. Unfortunately, this damage may lead to skin cancer down the road. Your first thought may be to use your favorite SPF on your pet's skin. Actually, there are many options made specifically for pets. After you find one, apply a small amount to your pet's skin as a patch test.

You can also find animal-friendly bug sprays. If your pet already has a sunburn, try natural remedies like vitamin E and aloe vera.

3. Make Sure They're Groomed

All pet owners know that when summer rolls around, it's time for pets to shed. They shed their fur naturally as a way to make room for another coat come fall. Plus, it's hot outside, so they won't need that warmth for a little while. Americans spend billions of dollars on pet-related services each year, and it's no surprise why!

Your pet can feel more comfortable when you have them groomed. Additionally, your pet can sport a look that's healthier for them overall. In the summer, it's easy for pets to tangle their fur as they run around. When they have shorter hair, they'll look and feel a lot cleaner. It'll also be a lot more straightforward to apply sunscreen to their skin.

4. Look for Shaded Areas

Whenever you spend time outside with your pets, make sure that there's a shaded area present. When your dog or cat wants to seek refuge from the heat, they'll be able to lie down and chill out. This way, they won't be as prone to dehydration or sunburn. It can also help save their paws from particularly hot asphalt or concrete. If possible, take your pets outside at night for added protection.

If you don't see a shaded area at a dog park, it's smart to look for another spot – or come back later when it's cooler. You could also choose to take a hike rather than a walk on the street. Most trails provide coverage that makes the area feel a lot more comfortable.

5. Try Different Water Activities

A water-related activity can help your pet cool down after a day under the sun. That said, it's crucial to supervise your animals when they're around water. No pet knows how to swim automatically. If you let your dog jump into the pool without any safety gear, there could be an accident. Unless your dog has taken lessons, you should keep an eye on them at all times.

If you don't have a pool, you can still use water to play with your pet. You could set up a sprinkler so that they can jump through the water. You can also try a baby pool, which lets your pet splash around safely. Feel free to use your hose, too! These water-related activities can help your pet experience warm weather safely.

6. Take Them Back Inside

When all else fails, it's smart to take your pets back indoors. If you can't find shade or bring water, they'll fare much better inside. When you've planned an activity for the day, and it's suddenly too warm to head outdoors, you can always try another time. Otherwise, you may expose your pet to heatstroke and other health hazards. When it's especially hot, be sure to turn on the AC and crank up your fans.

If you need to take your dog on an errand run, bring them inside with you.

Make Sure That Your Pet Stays Safe in Warmer Weather

As temperatures start to stay warm consistently, it's imperative to keep your pets safe! Use these suggestions to ensure that your pet has a happy and healthy summer.

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