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Unlike humans, pets do not have the ability to cool their bodies in the way that humans do. Dogs use their respiratory tract to lose heat, and sweat less on their hair covered bodies. This is the reason that cats and dogs pant when they are hot. Some heat is also lost through their paw pads. When heat gets trapped inside of their bodies, they can then experience hyperthermia – this is when the core body temperature becomes dangerously elevated.
What Temperature Is Too Hot?
A normal body temperature for cats and dogs is just a bit higher than it is for humans, ranging from about 100 degrees to 102.5 degrees. Various degrees of activity will increase this temperature. Once it is raised to 106 degrees, heat stroke can occur and will cause many problems, including death.
Protecting Your Pet’s Skin
Though not widely known, skin cancer is very common in both cats and dogs. Their fur does provide some protection from the sun, but you should also apply a sunblock made for pets every 3 to 4 hours on their parts that are not fully covered by hair like their bellies and around their ears.
It may seem logical to cut your pet’s hair in the summer, but you must resist. When their hair is brushed out and not matted, it actually provides air circulation for them to regulate their body temperature. If your pet does end up getting burned somehow, you can soothe it by applying a thin layer of aloe vera on the area two times a day.
Keeping Your Pet Cool
Make sure that you save walks with your dog for the times that are not the hottest. This means avoiding times when the day usually has the highest temperatures and humidity. Do note that dogs like bulldogs that have short snouts are not able to pant sufficiently in weather that is humid, thanks to their narrow windpipes and nostrils.
When taking a trip in the car with your pup, never leave them inside of the car alone. Even if the windows are cracked open, the inside temperature of the car can rise by almost 20 degrees in just 7 minutes. Leaving your air conditioner on is important for keeping your pet safe in a car.