In good news, the 2017 summer solstice, the longest day of the year, has come and gone; it was June 21. In not as good news, we are looking at least 90 days of hot weather, affecting not only people but animals. Animal agencies such as the SPCA of Texas are urging people to be mindful of animals' changing needs during the hot summer months.
The SPCA of Texas recommends pet owners keep the following in mind:
Walk dogs early in the morning or in the evening hours instead of in the middle of the day when it’s hottest. Overweight and older pets are more likely to overheat during hot weather, so it is important to keep them fit and trim.
Check the temperature of the pavement before taking your dog for a walk by pressing the back of your hand on the concrete for five seconds. If it burns your hand, it will burn the pads on your dogs paws.
Always provide shelter. Pet owners who leave their animals outside must always provide shelter to protect them from extreme temperatures and inclement weather. Consider providing a wading pool filled with water to cool off.
Provide fresh, cool water every day in a tip-proof bowl. Remember that metal bowls left in the sun can get hot, so always put water bowls in the shade.
Water pooling in a hose turns hot. Allow water hoses to run until the water cools before spraying your dog or filling his water bowl.
Don't shave. Keep your pet well groomed, but resist the temptation to shave off all of his hair in an effort to keep him cool. A pet’s coat can protect him from sunburn and acts as cooling insulation.
If your dog has fair or pink skin, limit her time in direct sunlight to prevent sunburns. Consider pet-safe sunscreen for their nose, ears, and muzzle where they are most likely to get burned.
Don't let your dog ride in the back of an open vehicle unless he can be safely tethered to the center where he is unable to reach the sides and can stand or sit on a slip-proof, cool surface. Truck beds and metal surfaces get extremely hot in the summer and can burn paw pads.
Never leave your pet in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. It takes only minutes for a dog or cat to suffer a heat stroke. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a locked car can reach 120 degrees in under 10 minutes. Should you see a pet left alone in a parked car, please call 911.
Don’t forget your livestock companions. Give them plenty of water daily. Each livestock animal, including horses and donkeys, can consume 10 to 20 gallons of water per day.
The SPCA receives an average of eight calls a day reporting suspected animal cruelty. Almost half involve animals being denied food, water, and/or shelter. To report animal cruelty, call 214-461-1850.