We are all aware of the dangers of too much sun and take steps to prevent sunburns and heat exhaustion. Luckily, our bodies are equipped with defensive mechanisms, like sweating, to prevent us from getting too over-heated. Unfortunately, some animals like cats and dogs can only sweat through their paws and can be at extreme risk for heat stroke when the weather is warm. We asked Lisa Robinson, Owner of Elemental Canine which offers nutritional advice, top quality food and unique accessories, for some summer pet safety advice.
Q. How can you tell if your pet is over-heated and what is the best way to keep them cool?
A. Panting is your first clue that your pet is over-heating! Some breeds like pugs, boston terriers and french bulldogs cannot tolerate heat at all. It can actually be fatal!
To keep your pets cool ensure they have access to water and shade during hot summer days. Make sure they don’t over-exert themselves, even in the ocean or lake. They can get heat stroke just like humans.
When taking your pet in the car, be aware of the dangers of heat because the temperature inside a parked car increases rapidly to deadly levels, within just 5 minutes!
It may also be necessary to use sunscreen if your dog’s coat is light in color. Dogs can become sunburned on their noses, ears and other pink areas. You can use human sunscreen products; choose one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. It’s okay if your dog licks the sunscreen, because most are not toxic; however, you should avoid sunscreens that contain zinc or PABA. You can also dress your thin-coated dog in a t-shirt and hat to prevent sunburn.
Q. How do I know how much water my pet should be drinking?
A. It would all depend on what your pet eats and how much activity he is doing.
On average most dogs need about 30 ml per pound of weight in the summer if they eat kibble. Dogs that eat canned, home-cooked or raw food require less. Dogs that are active require more hydration.
Q. Is it normal for pets to eat less in the summer?
A. If your pet is too hot, they can lose interest in eating. Ensure that he is not over heated and comfortable. Check that any food has not been left out too long to spoil in the heat, and make sure he’s had enough to drink. If he doesn’t eat for more than a day, then a call to your veterinarian may be in order!
Q. What are some of your favorite dog parks in the Fraser Valley?
A. I have 2 French bulldogs, one with a back problem, so I like them to play with other small dogs only to avoid injury. There is a great new dog park in Clayton Park area in Surrey. It has an all dog area as well as a small dog only area!
Tynehead Park in Surrey has a great trail system and an off leash area, as well as Campbell Valley in Langley.
This is a great website that lists all the dog parks in your area. http://pets.ca/dogparks/bc.htm
Q. Do you know of any pet-friendly beaches or lakes in the Fraser Valley?
A. Yes, there are a few:
- Jones Lake is beautiful and has no posted restrictions.
- Buntzen Lake is dog friendly.
- Some people go to Hatzic or Davis lakes near Mission, and Pitt Lake too.
- You can always go for a walk on the dykes that run from Pitt Meadows to Maple Ridge and doggies can swim in the Pitt River that runs alongside the dyke.
Q. Can you recommend any other summer activities to do with your pets?
A. Boating (with a lifejacket) is great fun for many dogs, as well as lounging in a kiddy pool in your back yard for the less adventuresome.
Leeloo and Gamble (my Frenchies) love the floating toys in their pool!
Camping, hiking and walking through the local farmers markets are a great way to share the summer with your furry friends.
Thanks for the great tips, Lisa!
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