Summer is a great time for spending time outside. Your furry friend might also want to spend time outside this summer or lounge in the window where he or she can take a nap in the sun. As wonderful as summer may be for you and your cat, however, it can also be a dangerous time for your companion. Heat stroke, fleas and ticks, sunburn, and dehydration are some of the dangers summer poses for our furry friends. If you have a cat, please utilize these safety and summertime care tips for pets.
Prevent Fleas and Ticks: If you live in an area that has fleas and ticks, you need to visit your veterinarian in the springtime in order to get your cat a flea and tick prevention product. Your vet may give you a product such as Advantage or Frontline, which need to be applied every month for continuous flea and tick protection. Even if your companion is strictly an indoor cat, you need to provide him or her with flea and tick protection as fleas can make their way into your home through cracks in the windows and doors. If you would rather use an over-the-counter flea and tick prevention product, please consult with your vet first in order to ensure the product’s safety and appropriateness for your pet as not all flea and tick products are safe for animals.
Don’t Leave Pets in the Car: Cars can get very hot year-round, but especially in the summertime. If you want to grab something at the grocery store or run into the post office on the way home from taking your cat to the vet, don’t do it. Even if you only think you’ll be in the store or the post office for a few minutes, the car can get very hot during that time. According to Healthy Pet, a car can reach up to 120 degree Fahrenheit within a few minutes, even if the windows are rolled down. Take your furry friend home before you run errands during the warm months.
Certain Pets Need to Stay Indoors: Cats with specific issues need to stay indoors. Overweight, elderly, and very young cats need to stay in an air-conditioned home or apartment when it’s hot outside whenever possible. Cats who are ill must also stay inside when it’s hot. Overweight, ill, very young, and elderly cats have a harder time regulating their body temperature, according to Healthy Pet.
Prevent Dehydration: Whether your cat is inside or outside, he or she needs access to plenty of fresh water. If you don’t have a pet water fountain, check your kitty’s bowl throughout the day to ensure that he or she has plenty of fresh water. Change your cat’s water regularly as well.
You should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration so that you can get your cat the immediate care he or she needs if he or she develops this condition. The symptoms of dehydration in felines include: increased heart rate, a lack of skin elasticity, constipation, dry mouth, lethargy, and sunken eyes. You can test for skin elasticity by grabbing the skin at the base of your cat’s neck (the scruff) and letting it go. If your cat is hydrated, the skin will retract immediately. However, if your cat is dehydrated, the skin will take a longer time to retract.
If you suspect your cat is dehydrated, you need to get him or her vet care immediately. Without treatment, dehydration can lead to death.
Heartworm Prevention: Another summertime pet care tip is to talk to your vet about heartworm prevention. If your cat goes outside, your vet may prescribe your feline a heartworm prevention product. Heartworm disease is spread through mosquitoes and can lead to death in cats, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
Protect Kitty from Sunburn: Another good summertime pet care tip is to protect your companion from sunburn. White cats, cats with white noses and/or ears, and cats who are bald are at the greatest risk for getting sunburned. While the ears are the most common body part to be sunburned, noses and eyelids can also get sunburned, according to Cat World. If you have a cat who is at risk for sunburn, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation for a non-toxic sunscreen for cats.
You also need to be aware of the signs of sunburn. The signs that your cat may be sunburned include: skin redness, scaling, the loss of hair along the margins of the ear, thickening of the skin, and itching. If you suspect your cat has a sunburn, get him or her vet care as soon as possible.
Prevent and Recognize Heat Stroke: Cats are unable to handle the heat well, according to Pet MD because they only sweat through their paws. Thus, it is important that you help your cat stay cool in the summer heat in order to prevent heat stroke, a dangerous condition for felines. If your cat goes outside during the summertime, ensure that he or she has plenty of shade and fresh water available at all times. It is also a good idea to keep your kitty inside during the hottest part of the day (from 10am to 4pm). Very young, elderly, overweight, and sick felines need to stay inside during the summertime because they cannot expel heat as easily as other cats.
You also need to know the signs of heat stroke, another danger posed to cats by the summer weather. Signs of heat stroke include: excessive salivation, lethargy or restlessness, increased grooming behavior, vomiting, collapse, rapid breathing or pulse, stumbling gait, and redness of the mouth area or tongue. If you think your kitty has heat stroke, you need to get him or her vet care immediately as a cat can die if he or she is not treated right away.
Summer poses many dangers to our furry friends. However, by utilizing these summertime pet care tips, you can help protect your cat from summer’s heat. Remember, if you suspect your kitty is suffering from sunburn, dehydration, or heat stroke seek immediate veterinary care.
Healthy Pet: Pet Care: Summer Pet Care:
Cat World: Cat Dehydration – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Dehydrated Cats:
The Humane Society of the United States: Summer Care Tips for You and Your Pets:
Cat World: Sunburn in Cats – Symptoms, Treatment, & How to Avoid Feline Solar Diseases:
Pet MD: Heat Stroke in Cats: