Warmer temperatures often lead to more outdoor activities for people, and also for their pets. While these activities can be fun for all, Woodland Veterinary Hospital would like to remind you of some things to make sure that pets stay safe while having fun in the sun.

One of the biggest risks for pets is being left inside a parked car, even just for a few minutes—and even if the window is cracked. Despite outside temperatures that don’t seem scorching, the greenhouse effect of a parked car can intensify the heat. Temperatures in the 70′s and 80′s can easily get well up over 100 degrees in a car within minutes.

Pets should never be left inside the cab of a parked car, even just to run into a store “for a minute or two.” If your pet cannot come inside the store with you, or cannot be secured with a leash or kennel outside (ideally in the shade), it should not come along for the ride.

A parked car is not the only chance for a pet to get overheated. While outdoor cats can usually find shelter, and are usually not exercising much (especially in the heat), the same cannot always be said of dogs. A dog fenced or chained in a yard with no shelter can suffer heat stroke. Similarly, a dog taken for a long walk, that chases a ball, or does any other activity in the hot weather can easily get overheated.

Signs of heat stroke in pets include excessive panting, lethargy, and weakness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and pets may die from it even despite aggressive treatment. It is best to avoid heat stroke by providing appropriate shade and water for outdoor pets, and by not allowing strenuous activity on hot days. Any pets suspected of having heat stroke should immediately be brought to Woodland Veterinary Hospital on an emergency basis.

The sun provides other problems for pets, especially as temperatures rise. Hot pavement can cause burns to the bottom of the feet, so long walks on paved surfaces are not recommended unless the dog is wearing protective footwear.

Short-haired animals, especially those with non-pigmented skin, can get sunburned just as humans do. Additionally, certain types of skin cancer in animals are induced or exacerbated by solar radiation. Reducing sun exposure through shelter, clothing, and/or sunscreen can help prevent some of these conditions.

The doctors at Woodland Veterinary Hospital would be happy to answer further questions you may have about keeping your pet safe during this hot time of the year.

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