Keeping your pets cool

Some of you would have met my pup, Shelby, last week when I introduced her as a Red Cross lifejacket model. She's barely two years old and this will be my second summer with her. That said, I've never had pets before and I didn't know how badly the heat can affect our four-legged friends.

For example, I didn’t realize that dogs could get sunburn on their paws from walking on hot beaches or pavement. It makes sense, it just never occurred to me because their pads are so strong. The City of Toronto also reports that short hair pets and those with pink skin and white hair are most likely to burn.

If your dog has a short nose or snout, like the boxer or bulldog, the American Red Cross reports that they are prone to heat stroke. Same for dogs that are obese or have long hair.

So, what is the best way to keep fido cool?

  • Provide plenty of water; make sure you take water with you when you’re out
  • Watch out for sunburn! Control your pet's exposure to the sun and provide shade.
  • Provide a cool place for your pet either with a fan or air conditioning when inside or shady spots when outside
  • Pups may still want to play, but excessive exercise could cause heat stroke so this should be avoided during the hottest parts of the day
  • Never leave your pet in the car. Even with the window open slightly or parked in the shade, when the temperature outside reaches 30°C the temperature inside a car can reach 50°C in minutes.

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