Hot Weather Pet Safety Tips

It’s summertime and time for safe fun in the sun for you and your pet.

Fortunately, you know when you have had too much fun in the sun, but your pet can’t say: “hey, I need to stop.”

Heat exhaustion commonly affects dogs in the summer and can lead to a heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Heat exhaustion frequently occurs when a dog is penned up in an area with no shade or air circulation or from strenuous activity on a hot day.

The first signs of heat exhaustion in your dog can be rapid panting, muscle weakness, staggering, fainting, shaking, vomiting or a rapid heart beat.

Should your dog show any of these signs it is important that you begin to immediately cool your pet down by spraying with cool (not cold) water or put in a bath of cool water. Do not wrap your dog in a wet towel or blanket as that will trap in the heat.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees, overheating can make it rise rapidly and that is where the danger lies. It is of primary importance that you cool your dog down as quickly as possible and call your vet for more advice.

Older dogs and large dogs such as Great Danes are more at risk for heat stroke than small dogs.

However, fat dogs, black dogs, very furry dogs are at risk, too. Along with short nosed dogs like bulldogs, boxers and Pekingese who have trouble cooling and regulating the air they breathe due to their short nasal passages.

Also dogs on medication and very young puppies are susceptible to heat stroke, too.

Keeping you pet cool and comfortable is a responsibility a pet parent should take seriously.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Never leave your dog in a parked car. A car in the sun can reach over 140 degrees in a short time and your pet could die within 10 minutes.
  • If household temperatures are too hot for you, they are too hot for your pet.
  • Avoid exercising or walking your pet in the heat of the day. If the pavement is too hot for your barefoot, it is too hot for your pet’s pads.
  • Dogs need large quantities of fresh water on hot days to drink.
  • Keep your pet out of direct sunlight. Do not take your pet to the beach on a hot day unless you have a sunshade or umbrella for it.
  • If your dog is kept outside be certain it has a shady area to lie in at all times. Dogs can get skin cancer from too much exposure to the sun just as humans can.
  • Grooming is very important during the summer, brushing and combing will keep your dog’s coat clean and free from mats. You will also be able to keep an eye on parasites such as fleas and ticks. Long-haired dogs can be clipped, but not too short. Shaving a dog does not keep it cooler, a dog need its coat as a protection from the sun’s ultra-violet rays.
  • Spraying your dog with cool water or having a sprinkler going on low will allow your pet to enjoy the water and to keep cool.
  • If your pet has to go out in the heat of the day, let it walk as much as possible on grassy areas. Thermal burns are very dangerous and can require many weeks of nursing care once the pads get burned.

    Cats, on the other hand seem to fare better than dogs. I have never known of a cat to suffer from heat exhaustion, unless it was trapped in an area and could not get out.

    Cats are mostly indoor creatures and have all their creature comforts in the house.

    In doing my research I could not find any source that focused on cats and heat exhaustion.

    However, should your cat suffer from heat exhaustion, it is important that you cool the cat down as quickly as possible.

    Do not put the cat in cold water, but wipe the cat's body with a cool wet rag and call your vet immediately. Move the cat to an air-conditioned room.

    It seems (at least in my opinion) that outdoor cats are smart enough to find a shady spot and would never be found exercising or doing tricks to please their human on a hot sunny day (or any other day for that matter.)

    A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is – if it is too hot for you – it is too hot for your pet. You both need to keep cool and be out of the sun. USA, LLC