It’s safe to say that many of us are starting to look to fall. The late-summer Michigan mornings are bringing cooler weather and daytime highs are starting to level off in the 70s at last. As blissful as these temperatures seem to us, they are still warm enough to create heat-related issues for your pet, when spending long hours in the sun or traveling in a car.

It’s also true that – with the waning of the sunny season – many of us choose to get in one last family vacation to a warmer destination, such as the beaches of Florida or North Carolina, or final hoorah over Labor Day weekend on the boat. Then there’s the usual busy-ness of back-to-school season, which usually takes time away from paying closer attention to our pet and can result in him or her being in the yard, unnoticed, for longer periods of time.

No matter what the reason, veterinary clinics continue to see heat-related emergencies throughout the late summer months. Here are some tips for creating an end-of-summer pet safety plan for your favorite fur companion…

  • Keep several bowls of fresh, cool water around – both indoors and in the yard. When walking your dog, be sure to bring water and a collapsible bowl or similar dish. This also goes for car rides or visits to the park, lake, or pet playmate’s home.
  • Consider keeping your long-haired dog’s hair groomed shorter for his or her comfort until the temperatures start to cool considerably.
  • Avoid midday walks in favor of early morning or late evening strolls.
  • Monitor your pet and watch for any signs of excessive panting, lethargy, or restlessness when outdoors. If your pet displays symptoms of heat stroke, treat this as an emergency and bring your pet in for an examination.
  • On hot days, keep your pet indoors or in a cool, shaded area with ample air circulation.
  • If you are traveling with your pet, plan ahead and schedule frequent rest stops. Keep the car cool throughout the trip. Never leave your pet alone in the vehicle or at rest stops. Always look for the shady spot for food or potty breaks, whenever possible.
  • Avoid taking your dog to festivals, concerts, or crowded events on hot days where he or she will be at risk for heat- and sun-related health issues (or noise- and crowd-related anxiety).
  • Likewise, before hitting the beach or lake, check to make sure there will be some type of sun protection in the form of shade trees, ramada, or a boat shade.
  • Prevent sunburns by applying a sunscreen (SPF above 15) specifically formulated for pets, paying close attention to sensitive areas, such as ear tips, nose and places where there is light-colored, white, or minimal fur.

As we bid farewell to another incredible summer, keep your pet’s health in safety in mind by being prepared for outdoor exposure and travel. If you would like any additional tips or have questions regarding travelling with your pet, we welcome your call.