How Can I Keep My Pet Safe in Hot Weather?

Here are ten simple things you can do today to protect your pet from getting a sunburn, heat stroke, or other injuries.

by PetIQ® Veterinary Council
Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The heat is on! The summer temperatures are rising, and you can’t wait to get out there to enjoy it. Here are ten simple things you can do today to protect your pet from getting a sunburn, heat stroke, or other injuries.

1. Know the symptoms of overheating pets:

Excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, vomiting, weakness, or collapsing. In extreme cases, dogs can experience seizures or bloody diarrhea when their internal temperatures reach over 104 degrees. During high humidity days, pets can’t respirate fast enough to cool themselves down, so watch for high temperatures and high humidity in your local forecast.

2. Attention Pug, Pekingese, Pomeranian, French Bulldog, Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chow Chow, English Toy Spaniel, Shih Tzu dog owners, and Persian cat owners:

This one is for you. Flat-faced animals are more prone to heat stroke because they can’t pant as effectively as other breeds. They should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. If you think your dog is experiencing heat stroke, take them to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. If you have to wait, soak your dog with warm/room temperature water and put a fan on them.

3. Have plenty of fresh water available:

Dogs and cats can get dehydrated quickly. The water source should be in a shaded area for extra protection. Do not let them drink out of pools that contain chemicals or puddles, flowerpots, and other standing water sources which could transmit disease.

4. Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle:

It is extremely dangerous for your pet and may lead to criminal charges for you. For example, if it is 70 degrees outside, in 20 minutes, inside your car can feel like 100, even if you crack your window open. Save the car rides for cooler, less humid days and have your car’s AC on.

5. Thinking about taking a dip together? Do not leave your pet unsupervised around bodies of water:

This includes pools, lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Not all dog breeds are good swimmers. Make sure they wear a pet safety vest for their size and weight. Rinse your dog after being in the water. This removes any chlorine or salt water.

Before your next outdoor adventure, visit your local veterinarian to get a heartworm check, update your pet’s vaccinations, and ask about flea, tick, and heartworm preventives. This helps protect your pet from diseases or parasites in the water or ground, especially if you are traveling outside your local area.

6. Hot sidewalks can burn your pet’s feet:

Remember saying it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? For sensitive paws, it can be just as bad. Walk your pet before noon or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler for you and them.

7. Headed to a backyard BBQ:

If you bring your pet, don’t feed them anything you are eating or drinking. It can be toxic to them. Instead, bring their food and snacks with you. Don’t let those begging eyes fool you, your family, or your friends. Remove temptation.

8. Great for the party, bad for pets:

Citronella candles, tiki torch products, and insect coils are all toxic to pets.

9. Your dog doesn’t need a buzz cut:

Don’t shave your dog. Its coat protects their skin from getting overheated or sunburned. If you have a hairless dog or cat, use animal sunscreen and insect repellent. Do not use human shampoos, sunscreens, or repellents. These can be toxic to your pet.

10. Keep all unscreened doors and windows closed:

Open, unscreened windows are a real threat to pets, especially indoor-only ones. With the warmer temperatures, curiosity can drive them outdoors, risk falling injuries, getting lost, or being infected with a disease. Replace any broken screens and make sure they are tightly secured.

Remember, protection starts with prevention. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for them. Move the fun indoors and stay cool this summer.


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