Humans aren’t the only animals that have a hard time dealing with the heat and the dry air of summer. Cats, dogs, birds, hamsters—basically any pet that isn’t reptilian in nature is going to need some special care if you want them to have a great summer season.
Here are some tips that you can use to help keep your favorite fluffy (or not so fluffy) creatures healthy and happy this summer.
1. Consider a Change in Diet
Nobody wants to eat hearty meals when it is hot outside but your pets need diets that are rich in protein and nutrients. This is especially important for older pets or pets who are dealing with illnesses.
If you aren’t sure what to feed your pet when it gets hot out and you’ve already taken him to the vet for a thorough physical exam, you and your pet also have the option of pet nutrition counseling. A nutrition counselor can help you figure out exactly what to feed your furry friend so that he gets the nutrients he needs through lighter, summer-friendlier fare.
2. Cars Are Not Pet-Friendly
Every summer we see story after story about some poor parent who decided to leave a child in a car “just for a few minutes” and had disaster strike. The same heat hazards that exist in a car for children exist for your pets. Red Rover did a study that found that the inside of a car, especially on a hot day when heat can build up inside the car, is typically 20 to 30 degrees hotter than whatever temperature it is outside. That number goes up if you park in direct sunlight and/or leave the windows rolled up.
If you’re not sure if you can take your pet into your destination with you, it is safer to leave the pet at home in a safe and cool space than to hope he’ll be okay in the car.
3. Play Outside Only in the Early Mornings or Late Evenings
The early mornings and late evenings are the best times of day to make sure that your pets get the exercise they need during the summer. These are the times of day that are coolest, when pollen counts are lower, which is especially important if your pet is a breed that has a particularly sensitive respiratory tract (like a bulldog). Going for walks and playing during the middle of the day can cause your pet to overheat.
4. Vaccinations Are Important
One of the most important things you need to do for your pet as the weather heats up, say the vets at UPenn, is make sure that all of his vaccinations and treatments are up to date. There are certain things like the parvovirus and heartworms that thrive in warmer weather and you need to make sure that your pet is protected against them. This goes for flea treatments too!
5. Grooming Matters
Keep your furry pets properly groomed. Remember: fur increases your pet’s body temperature. This is great in the winter but terrible in the summer. Regular brushing is important—it helps get excess fur off of the animal and prevents it from being ingested. Cat owners and long haired dog owners should also be administering some sort of hairball remedy. Hairballs are nobody’s idea of a good time.
These are just five of the things you should be doing to keep your pets healthy and happy this summer. What are some of the other things you’ve been doing to increase health and comfort for your furkid?