The ancient Greeks called July and August the “dog days of summer” because that’s the time of year the “dog star” Sirius was visible in the night sky. These days, the expression simply refers to the hottest days of the year. We know all about summer heat here in Belton. The entire Kansas City area sizzles this time of year. When it’s this hot and humid, it’s best to stay indoors where it’s cool. When we do go outside, we all need to be on the lookout for heat exhaustion. Even a brisk walk around our senior living community in Belton can leave healthy adults feeling like they’ve run a marathon. Take water with you, wear a hat and sunscreen, and be safe!

But what do the dog days of summer mean for your dog—or for your cat, for that matter? Heat exhaustion isn’t just a human problem. Dogs, cats, and all kinds of pets can suffer from the heat, just like we can, so it’s important to keep an eye on them as the mercury rises. Our furry and feathered friends don’t respond to the heat the same way we do. Our sweat cools us, but dogs and cats don’t sweat. They pant to cool themselves, but with those furry coats, they can only do so much.

The best thing you can do for your pet during the summer months is to make sure they have shade when they’re outside, a cool place to snooze indoors, and lots of fresh, cool water to drink. Walk your dogs in the mornings and evenings, before and after the hottest part of the day. You can also look for cooling beds for your pet or ask for a cute summer cut at the groomer’s if your pooch seems really miserable.

But even the most careful and considerate pet parent can have an accident, so let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of hyperthermia, or dangerously elevated body temperature. It’s good to know what to look for.

  • Panting, drooling, salivating
  • Discoloration in the tongue and gums
  • Distressed breathing
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Delirium or mental confusion
  • Staggering or dizziness
  • Collapsing and seizures
  • Weakness or trembling

If you see any symptoms from this list, it’s time for some first aid and then a trip to the emergency vet. Heatstroke is serious! First, get your pet out of the hot environment. Apply cool but not cold water to your dog or cat’s fur or skin and fan them. You can also wet down the area where they’re lying to cool them more quickly. Even if your pet seems to be recovering, you should take him or her in for a checkup. Better safe than sorry!

Lazy Acres in Belton is a great place for humans aged 55+ and their pets! To learn more, give us a call anytime during our regular business hours at (816) 331-4886 or fill out our online contact form!