How to Protect Your Pet This Summer in Asheville, NC
During the summer in Asheville, the temperatures range from an average 84°F and an average low of 62°F. While we love spending the long, sunny days exploring downtown Asheville with our furry companions, heat and humidity are dangerous for pets. As the weather heats up, it’s important to remain aware of how the heat affects your pet. Heat exhaustion in dogs can lead to serious and potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke and cardiac arrest. Let’s take a look at what hazards are most common during summer.
Overheating is probably the most hazardous for your pet. Never leave a pet in a vehicle with the windows cracked. The inside temperature of a vehicle can rise rapidly. Just within 30 minutes, the car’s interior can climb from 85 F to a scorching 120 F. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, but it is illegal in several states. Currently, 26 states have laws that concern companion animals left unattended in a parked vehicle under dangerous conditions that involve legal action against the vehicle owner. Other laws protect those who may use force, like breaking a window to rescue the animal from the car.
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, or even collapse. You’ll want to keep an eye out for these signs of distress, but also ensure that your pet is properly hydrated at all times. Give your pet plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Ensure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and use your best judgment to keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Another common heat-related danger is dehydration. While not as dangerous as heat stroke, it can cause problems for your pet and can escalate into heat exhaustion or heat stroke if not treated. While outdoors in the heat, your pet needs to drink water frequently. It’s a good idea to bring a few extra bottles of water and a dish or collapsible bowl when taking your pet on outdoor adventures. Drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing is a sign for a water break. Find some shade to let you and your pet cool off from time to time. If you and your pet are strolling in downtown Asheville, many businesses will leave bowls of water for thirsty oncoming pets.
Just like us, our pets are also vulnerable to sunburns. UV rays from the sun can cause sunburn in people and pets, while too much exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer. Pets with short hair or light-colored fur are more susceptible to sunburn. Hot pavement can also cause burns on the paws of dogs and cats. The darker the pavement, the more heat it will trap. You can avoid these types of burns by walking your pet in the morning or evening hours or by spending short amounts of time on paved surfaces. Asheville has a few public parks and gardens filled with gorgeous wildflowers, making it a perfect spot to avoid sunburns and hot pavement.
The possibilities are endless for activities you can share with your pet. Most trails in the mountains are pet-friendly, the grounds of Biltmore welcome pets, and there are many pet-friendly breweries and restaurants in Asheville. If you notice signs of overheating, dehydration, or burns, the team at Avery Creek Pet Hospital can help make sure your pets are well taken care of. For more information about our veterinarian office or ready to schedule an appointment, please contact us.