Water is essential to health and life. In the summertime, as the temperatures inch upward, it’s easy for pets to dehydrate quickly. To make things worse, summer power outages are common, interrupting your home’s air conditioning. If you think your dog or cat is dehydrated, it’s easy to help rehydrate her. Excellent sources of moisture are fresh water, electrolytes, chicken or beef broth, ice chips and very moist food. Children’s Pedialyte is also good for dogs and cats, if necessary. It contains electrolytes and minerals that will aid in rehydration. Your fan, though, won’t help your pet’s hydration. When your fan is operating, it may be cooling you but not your pet, as pet and human have different physiologies.
High humidity is a concern
Animals pant to remove moisture from their lungs and reduce body heat. When the humidity‘s high, the ability to cool the body is limited. Body temperature can skyrocket to dangerous levels. When your dog’s or cat’s temperature exceeds 104 degrees, act immediately to avoid heat stroke.
Controlling hydration outdoors
- Limit exercise on hot days.
- Walk your pet on the grass.
- Always provide water for your pet. When you’re on the go, bring along water to prevent your pet from getting dehydrated.
- Provide shade for your pet using tree shade and tarps. These are especially good because they don’t block airflow.
Understand what heat stroke looks like
Extreme heat can cause heatstroke. Signs include heavy panting, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, lethargy, fever, dizziness and unconsciousness. Extremely young animals, old animals and dogs and cats that have short muzzles have more difficulty breathing in extreme heat.
When your pet is suffering from heatstroke
If you believe your pet is suffering from heatstroke take immediate action. Apply ice packs to the head, neck, and chest. Provide small amounts of chilled water for measured drinking. Then take your pet to your veterinarian at once.