We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating:
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s boiling.
Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhoea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Feel free to trim the longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labelled specifically for use on animals.
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
For horses, it is essential to pay attention to;
Choose cooler turnout times. If your horse has a stall but is turned out for part of the day, provide turnout during the cooler hours. Overnight is ideal, but if that’s not possible, have the horse go outside as early as possible during the day. Remember, the summer heat can also take a toll on the quality of your pasture. You might need to provide additional feed as the grass becomes sparse to maintain proper body condition and energy.
Provide shade. If your horse lives outdoors or if he must be outside during the day, provide relief from the sun. A run-in shed is best. Trees are a source of shade, but as the sun moves, so will the shade; ensure that, regardless of the time of day, the trees are offering shade.
Move the air. Fans are a great way to help keep the air moving in the barn but use them wisely. Always ensure that your horse can’t get a hold of cords and plugs.
Provide fresh, cool water and an electrolyte source. Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, cool water. A bucket hanging on a pasture fence will get warm, and the water will no longer be appealing. Left long enough, the water will also become stagnant and unhealthy. If you are providing clean, cool water and your horse doesn’t seem to be drinking, then encourage it by providing a salt block, or even by misting hay with salt water. If your horse is sweating a great deal, water laced with electrolytes can help keep its body in balance. Whenever you offer electrolytes, however, be sure to provide a second source of fresh water, as well. Not all horses will drink electrolyte-laced water, so providing a source of water without them will ensure your horse keeps drinking. Also, too many electrolytes can be harmful.
Slow down the work. If you have to work your horse in the heat, lighten the work or spread it out over a couple of short sessions. This is especially important when the humidity is high, contributing to the poor quality of the air your horse is breathing. Cool your horse down slowly, and offer frequent sips of cool water. Take the tack off as soon as you’re done and sponge the horse off again with cool water.
Stick to a schedule. Within the parameters of keeping him cool, try to stay as close as possible to his regular schedule. Too much change at one time can be an invitation for colic.
Avoid sunburn. Horses, especially white horses, can suffer from sunburn. Even those with white socks and blazes, pink noses, or hairless patches from scarring can be susceptible. Using a fly scrim can help. Also, applying sunblock to small, particularly vulnerable areas can be useful. Staying out of the sun’s harmful rays will, of course, be best. Consider using a fly sheet to help protect white or grey horses from sunburn.
Clip horses with longer hair coats. Clipping is important, especially for those with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or Cushing’s disease). While some coat can provide protection from the sun and insulation, a long, thick coat tends to hold heat and makes it difficult for the horse to cool down. Be careful not to clip the hair too close, however, as it provides some protection from damaging rays.