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Summertime Safety for our 4-legged Friends

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     Last week we discussed ways to keep you and your family healthy and safe during the summer. This week we realized that we had failed to include safety tips for our furry little companions. Let’s talk pet safety for the summertime.

I’m going to start with something that I particularly find offensive (and I will try to not go off on a rant). Do not.. I repeat, DO NOT leave your animal(s) in the car. Not for a few minutes, not for a quick run in the store – just don’t do it. Here’s why: Even if the weather outside isn’t so bad, say a nice 75 degree day, the temp inside the car will be 20 degrees hotter. (Yes, even if you crack a window it will still get that hot.) On a beautiful 85 degree day, it only takes about 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees and in 20 minutes it can reach 120 degrees. If you love your pet to have them with you when you travel, please be mindful about their well-being.

On hot days, make sure your pets have plenty of water and a shady spot to cool down. Keep in mind that the little flat faced dogs (pugs, boston terriers, etc) have a harder time cooling down as do older dogs and animals with health conditions, so they will do better in an air conditioned room.

Don’t leave your animals unattended around pools. While there is a swimming technique named after them (aka: the doggy paddle) not all dogs can swim. (I think back to canoeing with a friend and her Frenchie who happened to wait until we hit the deepest, coldest part of the river and then promptly leapt out…and sank like a stone. She was pulled out, wrapped in our jackets and sat happy as a queen while we drip dried and shivered, but point being, she was not a swimmer.)

Here is a lesser known fact that most well meaning dog owners may not think about on a hot day: the temperature of the asphalt on hot days can not only over heat your dog, but can burn the pads of their paws as well. Make sure, before you go on that 2 mile walk that you’re not injuring your little exercise companion.

Lastly, know the signs that your pet is getting dangerously overheated. Heat stroke signs include heavy panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degree. This can be fatal.

Whether bipedal or quadrupedal, we should all get to enjoy summer! We hope you are able to use the tips from last week, combine them with the tips from this week, and have a wonderful time with the whole family!


  • Dr. Tremblay
  • Brooke Rieth NP

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