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Surf and Turf Issue

barks feature "live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air’s salubritY" — Ralph Waldo Emerson This great American author was describing the health benefits of being outdoors. There’s something magical about sunshine that cleanses, ignites and renews us all. Our dogs and cats must feel it, too, based on the amount of windowsill naps and porch slumbers they enjoy. Long days spent frolicking outdoors, lounging at the lake or playing in the park are fueled by the summer’s warming rays. We want pets to have fun in the summer sun, but they need to do it safely. So how do pet parents know how much sun is too much for a dog or cat? What can overdosing on daylight do to a pet? How can pet parents protect best friends from ultraviolet radiation? Let’s shine a light on these questions to reveal the facts about facing the sunshine. high and dry One of the easiest sun-related health hazards to prevent is dehydration. Pets can become dehydrated quickly, whether they’re playing outside or just napping in the shade on a hot day. Excessive panting, slowing down during play and reluctance to keep pace on a walk can all be signs that your pet needs to cool down. To avoid exposure to intense sunlight and reduce risk of dehydration, I recommend limiting time outside with your pet to the hours before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. from May until October. If you must be outdoors during the heat of day, take water breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. Drinking water before, during and after exercise is essential for a dog to keep cool. And of course, never leave your pet in a parked car unattended, even on more temperate days. It takes only a few minutes for the sun’s powerful rays to heat the inside of the car to dangerous levels. (Turn to page 56 for more on this specific risk.) the surf & turf issue 41


Surf and Turf Issue
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