Pet Safety Tips in Summer Heat

How hot is too hot for our pets? We all enjoy summer and the endless outside activities that come with it, but we need to keep a close eye on our pets when we are out and about. Whether it’s the temperature outside, inside our cars or in our homes, pets can experience heat stroke just like us. Here are some tips to ensure your pets don’t overheat this summer:

1. Check the Temperature and Humidity

You may do a quick temperature check before taking your pet outside, but do you ever check the humidity? The temperature could seem okay, but coupled with humidity, it could be too much for your pet to handle. Most weather apps have the temperature and humidity listed for you. Take both of those readings and use a chart like this to make sure your pet can handle the heat.

2. Let Your Pet Exercise in the Morning or at Night

The midday hours are the hottest times of the day. To avoid these temps, take your pet out for an early morning jog or a late night stroll.

3. Remember the Pavement Is Hot!

This is easy to forget because we generally wear shoes when taking our pets out for a walk. However, the pavement is extremely hot, and dogs in particular cool from the bottom up. So if you have them walking on hot pavement, they can get overheated really quickly. One suggestion would be to keep them off the pavement. But if you live in an area where this isn’t possible, you can purchase doggie boots to keep them cool!

4. Keep Your Pet Hydrated

When taking your pet out for a walk, take along a bottle of water for them to drink. You never know what might happen when you go for a walk so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Also, make sure their water at home is in a cool, shaded place.

Keep Pets Hydrated: Pet Safety Tips in Summer

Photo by Davide Cassanello / CC-BY-NC-ND

5. Never Leave Your Pet in Your Car

Even if you think it isn’t that hot outside, you have to remember that the temperature inside your car can rise rapidly. Cracking the windows doesn’t help and neither does parking in the shade. It is never a good idea to leave a pet inside a car.

Keep your pet cool from the inside out. We covered keeping your pet hydrated, but there are other ways to keep your pet cool other than water. Since dogs cool from the bottom up, you can have them stand on a wet towel – standing on it cools them down much faster than wrapping them up in it. You can also purchase cooling body wraps, vests or mats. Find what works for your pet! Another fun thing to do with your pet is to make cool treats. Try this recipe for DIY peanut butter popsicles for your dog.

6. Go for a Swim!

If your pet likes to swim, the heat provides a great excuse to swim more often.

7. Let Your Pet Acclimate to the Weather

Just like you, your pet needs time to acclimate to different temperatures. As temperatures rise, it’s best to limit outside exercise, but it’s okay to let them play outside if you allow them time to acclimate. This is a good tip if you’re taking your pet on a trip to a hotter destination. Give them time to work up to being outside.

But if for some reason you think your dog might be overheating, here are some things you should be on the lookout for:

  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting, bloody diarrhea
  • Bright or dark red tongue, gums
  • Staggering or stumbling
  • Weakness, collapse
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unconsciousness

You should also keep in mind that some pets have a higher risk for heat-related illnesses than others. This includes dogs and cats with flat faces and short noses (Brachycephalic breeds), older pets, puppies and kittens, animals that are ill or have chronic health conditions and pets not used to warm weather.

Keep Pets Cool: Pet Safety Tips in Summer

Photo by Border, garaku / CC-BY-NC-ND

We hope these tips will be helpful for keeping your pet safe during the summer heat! Putting these into practice can help prevent overheating and heatstroke in your beloved pet.

What do you do to keep your pet cool in the summer? Share your experience in the comment section below. 

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