Summer sun, fun, and safety! Summer is a great time for us and our pets to get outside and have some fun, but with the rising temperatures there are certain precautions we should take with our pets. Below are some tips to keep your pet safe from the heat and sun:
Pets Need Sunscreen Too!
Just like us our pets have delicate skin that need to be protected from the sun. Did you know skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and second most in cats? The fur on our pets provide some protection, but not enough. You should apply a PET sunblock every 3-4 hours on your dog if you are going to be outside for a long period of time. Never use your own sunblock on your pet. Sunblock made for humans may contain zinc oxide which is toxic for pets. Your pet’s belly, nose and ears are most susceptible to the sun and getting burnt, so be sure you have covered those areas with sun protection.
Soothe Burns Safely
Forgot the sunblock? Usually a sunburn is a 1st degree burn and as long as the skin is not broken, you can treat the burn yourself without calling your vet. You can submerge the area in cold water or apply a cold, wet compress. Never apply ice to your pet’s burn, because it can end up making their pain worse. After you cool your pet’s skin with cold water, there are a few natural products you can use as a natural soothing and healing agent:
- Vitamin E: One way to heal your pet’s sun burn is to break open a vitamin E capsule, squeeze out the oil, and dab it onto the burnt area once or twice a day. Vitamin E is an antioxidant with healing properties. It can help soothe your pets burn and heal it.
- Raw Honey: You can use honey to treat your pet’s burn, but be sure to use RAW honey. Raw honey will help draw fluid away from the wound and suppress the growth of microorganisms. Part of what gives raw honey its antibacterial properties is an enzyme called glucose oxidase.
- Organic Healing Balm Restorative Salve: If your dog gets sunburn, his skin will lose a significant amount of moisture, making it dry and sore. Help to restore his skin's natural moisture balance by applying a natural moisturizer such as our Pura Naturals Pet™ Organic Healing Restorative Salve. This cream contains shea butter to moisturize the skin, as well as healing oils such as organic calendula extract, organic neem oil, organic tea tree oil, organic thyme oil and organic willow bark extract.
- Certified Organic Nose Rescue: If your pups nose gets a burn our Certified USDA Organic Nose Rescue is the perfect blend of organic, nourishing, healing and moisturizing ingredients. Apply this all-natural balm to your dog’s nose to prevent, or heal, a dry, cracked nose. This amazing balm will soothe and softened your pup’s nose leaving them feeling happy, healthy and loved!
Want some tips on how to keep your pet’s paws safe this summer as well, check out our blog Pet Paw Care - Summer Tips.
Resist The Urge to Cut Your Pets Hair
You may think you are doing your pet a favor to give your pet a hair cut in the summer, but “A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.” In fact, a dog’s coat has several layers, and these layers are essential to your dog’s comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. So what can you do? It is ok to give your long-haired dog a trim so the hair is more manageable, but it’s best to leave the cutting to a professional groomer. Never shave down to the skin or try to cut the hair yourself with scissors.
Prevent Heat Stroke
Many pet owners don’t even realize when their dog is overheating. Heat stroke is a very real danger for dogs and will cause nausea, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and even death.
Play It Cool:
- Walk your dog in the mornings and at night when it is cooler outside. The hottest times of the day are usually between 1 and 4 PM.
- If you must go out be sure your pet has access to a shady area where they can cool off and always have fresh water on you to give your pet so they will stay hydrated.
- NEVER leave your pet in a car, even with the windows cracked the interior temp can rise by 19 degrees in as little as 7 minutes. On a hot day this can be deadly for your pet.
- Keep your home cool. Many people tend to shut off their AC or raise the temperature up while they are out of their homes for long periods of time, but remember if that temperature is uncomfortable for you it is too hot for your pet as well.
Signs your dog is suffering from heat stroke:
- Heavy or excessive panting
- Dry or bright red gums
- Redness around the eyes
- Signs of weakness, wobbly legs
- Thick drool or vomiting
You can try to cool him/her down by giving him cool water to drink – not cold water. Cold water may make him/her vomit. Use a cool wet towel to sponge your dog off or soak him/her in a tub of cool water (not ice cold water, your dog could go into shock) and keep a fan on them to help bring down their body temperature. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100°and 103°F, so once he/she hits 104°F they are in dangerous territory (106° or higher can be fatal) If you can’t keep your dog’s temperature from rising or your dog's gums are grayish, tongue is blue, or is unconscious, call your veterinarian immediately. Severe heatstroke is an emergency. We hope you found these tips helpful and if you have any tips of your own please share them with us in the comments below. Be sure to check back on our blog as we post more summertime tips for pet owners!