Certainly, there are summer pet horror stories out there. “I’ve seen some dogs come in with all of their footpads blistered,” Dr. Buck Drummond of Dupont Veterinary Clinic says. “Burns from spending too long on hot black asphalt.”
A Northern Virginia native, Drummond trained in emergency care and spent two decades running a 24-hour veterinary clinic in Los Angeles before moving back with his partner a few years ago to be closer to his family. Now in regular practice at Dupont, Drummond notes that dogs are especially prone to heatstroke. “Dogs are pleasers and they don’t want to stop if their owners are asking them or if they’re having fun playing,” he says, adding that it’s not only just those dogs that are overweight or out of shape. “It can be unpredictable — sometimes even the fittest dogs will get overheated.”
For the most part, however, practicing simple common sense will help ensure that your dog or cat avoids health problems and stays cool in the hottest, muggiest months. In addition, you should also let your pets follow their instincts. “Animals usually have pretty good instincts if we let them do what they want,” Drummond says. “If we’re forcing them into a sunny place with no shade, if we’re encouraging them to play past their point of exhaustion — those are things that are our fault. Animals tend to be pretty smart about that stuff.”
On the pages that follow, we offer 5 basic tips, tricks and treats for keeping your pet cool.