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    As a loving pet owner, your furry companion’s safety and comfort is important to you year-round. With hot summer temperatures approaching, you can take proactive steps to protect your pet from the heat. 


    Protecting your pets from heat to help avoid heatstroke, dehydration and other health issues is essential as the temperature rises. With a few practical tips, safety precautions and supplies from Rite Aid, you can ensure your pet stays cool this summer, letting you enjoy the next few months outside together. 


    Understanding Heat Risks for Your Pet

    Like us, dogs and cats feel the heat, but their cooling mechanisms differ. Instead of sweating, they rely on panting and sweat glands in their paw pads to release heat. Unfortunately, these methods are not always efficient enough to keep them cool in high temperatures, putting them at risk of overheating.


    Additionally, elderly pets, overweight animals and those with underlying health conditions face increased heat risks. Obese pets have extra insulation due to their added fat layer, which can make it challenging to regulate their temperature, while older pets are less heat tolerant and often have reduced respiratory and cardiovascular function, limiting their ability to pant and cool down. 


    While you enjoy the summer sun with your pet, watch for signs of heat stress or heat stroke, including: 


    • Excessive panting

    • Drooling

    • Lethargy

    • Rapid heartbeat

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Collapsing


    If you notice these symptoms, take quick action to cool your pet and contact an animal hospital for professional assistance. Move them to a shaded or air-conditioned area and offer them cool water. You can also use damp towels or a spray bottle to gently wet their fur, focusing on their belly and paws where the fur is less dense, to help with cooling.


    Create a Pet-Friendly Environment

    Your pet’s well-being depends on having a cool and safe space to relax during hot weather conditions. Whether indoors or outdoors, they require a shady spot under trees, a covered patio or inside a kennel or cat enclosure where they can stay out of direct sunlight. 


    If your pet stays indoors for longer periods, keep the space well-ventilated and provide air circulation to maintain a cool environment. Keep windows and doors open to promote airflow or use fans or air conditioning to regulate the temperature. 


    You can use pet cooling products to keep your pet comfortable both indoors and outside. Try using cooling mats, vests and bandanas designed to absorb and dissipate heat. You can also give your pets freezable toys or water bottles to keep them entertained and cool.


    Avoid exposing your pet to hot surfaces like sidewalks. These surfaces can quickly become scorching hot and burn your pet’s paws. Sidewalks can reach temperatures of 120-150°F during peak hours of the day. If you plan to take your pet for a walk in the summer, take them during cooler times of the day or in grassy areas.


    When traveling, never leave your pet unsupervised in a parked car, even if you have parked your car in the shade and have the windows rolled down. The interior of a car can rise to 116°F on average


    Hydration and Nutrition

    Always ensure your pet has access to clean, fresh water. Change the water frequently to keep it fresh and cool and wash out the bowl to prevent bacterial buildup. 


    In the summer months, pets need plenty of fresh, cold water to replace what’s lost through evaporation due to panting. In general, dogs should have about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily, while cats need approximately 3.5 to 4.5 ounces per 5 pounds of body weight. 


    Water isn’t the only way to keep your pets hydrated. You can offer moist foods, such as canned pet food, broths or pureed vegetables. Try including water-rich fruits like watermelon or cucumbers in addition to other healthy treats like Pawtown Five Flavor Kabobs. These delicious high-protein treats have premium beef hide, chicken liver and duck breast.


    Exercise and Activity Management

    While exercise is crucial for maintaining your pet’s health, you may need to limit exercise on hot days.  Avoid taking your pet for a walk during the hottest parts of the day, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Instead, walk them in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler. This reduces the risk of overheating and ensures a more enjoyable experience for your pet. 


    The amount of exercise needed varies depending on breed, age and health. As a general guideline, dogs usually require 30 minutes to 3 hours of exercise per day, divided into multiple sessions. Cats benefit from short bursts of playtime, totaling around 30 minutes spread throughout the day.


    If you can’t get outdoors due to the summer heat, keep your pets at home and engage in indoor activities, such as interactive games, puzzle toys or indoor agility exercises. This helps to stimulate your pet mentally and physically while avoiding exposure to excessive heat. Also, provide your pet with a cool place to rest, such as a shaded area or a room with air conditioning after exercising.


    The Pawtown 5-IN-1 Laser Toy is the perfect interactive toy to engage with your pets when it is too hot to go outdoors. The laser has five holographic images to project on any surface to get your pet running, jumping and playing. 


    Grooming and Coat Care

    While you should never shave your pet’s coat to keep them cool in the summer, regular brushing removes excess fur and promotes airflow, which helps your pet regulate its body temperature. The frequency of brushing varies based on coat type, but for longer-haired breeds like Border Collies or Persian cats, aim for at least once a week or even more frequently to prevent matting and ensure optimal coat health.


    The Pawtown Combo Dog Brush makes summer grooming easy with its dual-sided brush head. Use the pin head side for fast detangling and the bristle side to remove excess fur. The textured high-grip handle ensures it won’t slip and you can use the brush on any type of coat. 


    Also, protect pets with exposed skin, such as their noses, bellies and ears, by using pet-safe sunscreen. Breeds with shorter coats or lighter skin, like the Sphynx cat or the Chinese Crested dog, can benefit from sunscreen to prevent sunburn and safeguard against harmful UV rays. Choose sunscreen products specifically designed for pets to ensure their safety and well-being in the sun.


    Keep Your Pet Healthy This Summer With Rite Aid

    Summer is an excellent time to get outdoors and bond with your pet, but it can pose several risks for your pet’s health and well-being. By following a few simple tips to prevent heat injuries or heat stroke and investing in quality pet products from Rite Aid you can help your pet enjoy a healthy, happy summer. 


    These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regimen.