Keeping Your Furry Friend Safe in the Heat

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Now that it is officially spring and summer is coming up on the horizon, it’s a good time to talk about caring for dogs in the heat and the best ways to keep them safe. Humans can sometimes overestimate how versatile dogs/pets are in different climates, it can sometimes be easy to assume that your pet will be just fine no matter the conditions. This is perhaps because pets don’t wear clothes or jackets and can’t tell us when they are hot/cold, or perhaps we just forget, but nonetheless it is important to be cognizant of the temperature going into the summer months. While it can sometimes be hard to tell at what point it is too hot (or too cold), we have a few tips to help you keep your pets safe. 

  1. Do NOT leave your pets in the car

    1. While at this point most people have learned this rule, it is still important to reiterate. Leaving your pet in the closed space in the heat is a recipe for disaster, the air already in the car is trapped and will just continue to get hotter. Cars in the sun become saunas within minutes. 

  2. Reduce exercise on hot days

    1. If you think it is hot outside, chances are your pet thinks the same thing. If it’s going to be a super hot day, consider doing exercise in the morning or evening to avoid the peak temperatures. Additionally, on really hot days you should greatly reduce the amount of exercise, both in duration and intensity. 

  3. Ample shade and water

    1. If you are going to be outside on hot days with your pet it is important that you provide them with adequate shade and a frequent supply of water. Tarps, umbrellas and tree’s provide the best shade as they don’t obstruct airflow. Adding ice to your pets water is also extremely helpful and you should make sure to offer your dog water often just to be safe. 

  4. Watch the humidity

    1. While keeping track of the temperature is important, many people overlook the humidity when deciding if it is too hot outside. Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association says, "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

  5. Watch for signs of heatstroke 

    1. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease.” 

  6. How to treat heatstroke

    1. In the event that your dog does have heat stroke, there are a few things you should do to immediately help them. First, get your pet somewhere cool. Shade and air conditioning are best. Next, put ice packs (or cold towels) on their head, neck and chest. Finally, let them drink small sips of water to cool down, before taking them to your veterinarian.

Works Cited

“Keep Pets Safe in the Heat.” The Humane Society of the United States,

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