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How to Keep Pets Safe During a Heat Wave

How to Keep Pets Safe During a Heat Wave

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.

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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.

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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.

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Make sure that when you will be gone for several hours that your home will stay cool for your pet. Turn on the air conditioner if you have one, if not, several fans will do. The general rule is that if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet.

Look Out for Heat Exhaustion

Heat stress is signaled by thick drool, bright red or dry gums, heavy panting, wobbly legs, diarrhea, and vomiting. Do not put your pet in cold water, this can send them into shock! Rather, you should move them to a cool place and place a damp towel on their body. Wet the cloth often and take them to their veterinarian as soon as you can.

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What to Do While Outside

You should look for an area that is mostly shaded for walking or doing other exercise with your dog. Even when you feel fully able to take on the challenge of a lengthy activity, you should always stop and rest frequently – every 15 minutes is the recommendation. Pets that are less physically fit will need more frequent breaks the hotter and more humid it is.

Get an Exam Before Heading Out for Exercise

Ideally, all pets would be kept healthy enough for physical activity all year. Unfortunately, seasonal factors as well as other deterrents may keep them mostly inside for months at a time. Due to this, there may be a loss of fitness and weight gain. Prior to engaging in activities outside in the hotter months, seek an exam for your dog from your vet. Older and less physically-fit dogs may have underlying issues that can be exacerbated by exercise.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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