Originally Published on August 27, 2021. Last Updated on November 8, 2022.
The dog days of summer are here, and as you’ve probably noticed, the weather’s getting pretty ruff. Puns aside, the extreme heat affects our four-legged friends as much as it does us. Giving your fur baby plenty of H2O is key, but there are other ways to make sure your pets stay safe this season. Check out these valuable safety tips on how to keep your pets safe, cool, and comfortable this summer.
Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
If you need to grab something quick from the store and have your pet in the car with you, it can be tempting to make a fast pit stop. Even if you’re away for a minute, don’t leave your dog or cat unattended in your vehicle on a hot day. Your pet may suffer from irreversible organ damage or die from overheating. Cracking your windows down or parking under a shady spot doesn’t help cool down your car either. According to the ASPCA, it only takes 10 minutes for a car to reach 102° on an 85° day. After 30 minutes, it can hit 120° inside your car. Imagine if it was a 100° day! Plus, it’s illegal in several states to leave an animal alone in a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions, which includes hot days.
Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke
One thing to look out for on sweltering summer days is heat stroke — also known as hyperthermia. This happens when your pet’s body temperature exceeds the normal temperature range of 100° to 102.2°. Some signs of heatstroke include:
- Heaving panting
- Glazed eyes
- Lack of coordination
- Dry or sticky gums
- Abnormal gum color
What to Do if Your Pet Has Heat Stroke
Pets that are old, young, overweight, or have a heart or respiratory disease are most at risk. Also, dogs that have short muzzles — e.g., pugs, boxers, and shih tzus — have a harder time breathing than other breeds. If you think your furry pal is having heatstroke, here’s what you should do:
- Move your pet to a shady area or air-conditioned room.
- Allow your pet to drink small amounts of water.
- Apply an ice pack or cold towel on your pet’s head, neck, and body.
- If none of the above suggestions help resolve your pet’s heatstroke, take them to the veterinarian emergency room immediately.
Give Your Pet Cool Treats
Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone on a hot summer day? So why can’t your doggo enjoy a cool, tasty treat? Enter “pupsicles.” Fill up a small plastic container or ice cube tray with chicken broth, and let it freeze overnight. Or you can use a mixture of peanut butter and banana. Whatever you decide to do, your trusty companion will love eating these treats from their pet feeder.
Avoid Walking Your Dog During the Heat of the Day
Take your furry buddy out to exercise and do their doggy business early in the morning and later in the evening to avoid the extreme heat. When temperatures start hitting triple digits in the mid-afternoon, it can be tough for your pet — and yourself — to get through the walk. If you have no choice but to walk them during the day, keep your walk time to a minimum and bring plenty of water for you and Fido. You also want to protect your friend’s paws. Asphalt gets hot to the touch and can damage your pal’s precious paws. Before heading out, rub protective wax on them or bust out the dog booties!
Don’t Shave Your Pet’s Coat
It might seem like a good idea to shave your buddy’s coat to beat the heat. But pets can get sunburnt just like humans. Their fur protects them from the hot sun and keeps them warm during the winter. If you want to keep your furry friend extra cool, set up your pet’s play area with some misters and lay down a damp towel for your buddy. Also, consider getting them a cooling vest. The rest of the neighborhood doggies will wish they had one!
Whether you’re at the beach, park, or lake, summer’s always a fun time to hang out and play with your best buddy. But when temps soar into the triple digits, it can be dangerous for your pet. Keep these safety measures in mind to ensure you and your four-legged pal have a safe summer together!