Keep Your Pets Safe in Warm Weather

Dog and cat best friends playing together outdoor. Lying on the back together.

Pets love summer. Cats get to hunt or, at the very least, sit in the window and enjoy the smells of outside through the screen. Dogs get to play outside for hours and go on adventures they’d never get to experience in the winter. The warmer weather, however, may present some hurdles for the safety and comfort of animals. It is up to humans to keep the animals they love safe, comfortable, and happy.

  • Never leave your pet in a hot car. On a warm day, the contained air in a vehicle can raise in temperature significantly and quickly. When the temperature outside is 85 degrees, it may take as little as ten minutes for the temperature in a car to raise to 102*. Within 30 minutes, the temperature may rise to 120*. Leaving the windows open is not enough to maintain a safe temperature in the vehicle. Exposure to such extreme temperatures may cause permanent damage to a pet’s organs and, in far too many tragic cases, death.

  • Mind the humidity. Humans cool themselves by sweating. Animals, on the other hand, pant in order to evaporate moisture from their lungs. If the humidity is too high, animals are not able to cool themselves, leading their bodies to overheat quickly. Check your pets’ temperatures on humid days; neither dogs nor cats should reach a body temperature of 104*.

  • Keep your dog off the asphalt. Asphalt heats very quickly and is capable of literally burning an animal’s paws. If you walk your dog during the sunny hours of a hot day, keep  your pup on the grass.

  • Exercise wisely on hot days. Limit the amount of strenuous activity your pets do on hot days. The best time for pets (and humans!) to exercise on hot days is early in the morning or late in the evening, when the temperature will be lower. Animals with lighter colored skin (most easily noticeable in the ears) are more susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer. Always carry water for your pets while exercising them.

  • Don’t trust a fan to make everything all right. Animals’ bodies are different than humans’ bodies, and fans do not cool animals as effectively.

  • Always provide shade and fresh water. Cold water helps cool your pets down from the inside. Trees provide ideal shade, since they don’t obstruct air flow. An enclosed dog house will offer little reprieve for your dog – to the contrary, the enclosed space will likely trap more heat and create more problems.

Exposure to extreme heat may cause heat stroke in animals. If your pet is experiencing heavy panting, excessive drooling, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulties, abnormally excessive thirst, fever, lethargy, vomiting, lack of coordination, abnormally dark tongue, seizures, or lack of consciousness, it is crucial that you get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Try to keep your pet cool while traveling to the vet – turn the air conditioning on in the car, apply a cool, wet towel to your pet’s head, neck, or chest.


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