Safety concerns increase with the temperatures as more pets spend time outdoors during the summer months. The extreme heat poses dangers for people and pets alike. Pet owners should minimize outside exposure for their pets during the day to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you notice signs or symptoms of heat-related illness in your pet, take them to your veterinarian immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Utah Humane shares the following hot weather and summer safety concerns with pet owners:
- Pets should have access to fresh, cool water at all times.
- Pets should have access to adequate shelter that reduces their temperature (some dog houses can cause an increase in inside temperature).
- Reduce outdoor activity during extreme temperatures. Walk or exercise your dog in the early morning and evening.
- Place the back of your hand on the asphalt for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Provide pet-safe frozen treats to help cool your pet internally.
- Ensure that your pet wears a collar with an ID tag at all times. Microchip your pet and keep owner contact information current.
- Keep your pet current on vaccinations and regular vet health checks.
- Prevent your pet from falling out of open windows and do not leave them on balconies or high patios unobserved.
- Some dog breeds have a double fur coat that provides insulation and should not be shaved.
- Use pet-safe sunscreen and bug repellent.
- Check your pet for ticks, Foxtails, and grass seed awns after outdoor activity.
- Rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to pets if ingested. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products, and insect coils of our pets’ reach.
- Brachycephalic (short-nosed, flat-faced) pet breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, and Persian cats, as well as young, elderly, ill, or overweight pets, are at a higher risk of overheating and should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around water—not all pets are good swimmers. Make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your pet off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from the fur. Keep your pet from drinking the swimming pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
We can’t forget to emphasize the importance of never leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle during the warm temperatures! Pets are at risk in hot weather, especially when temperatures change quickly, and the animal can not regulate their body temperature fast enough. The temperature inside a car may increase 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes in some situations, and a dog can’t cool down or sweat the way a person does.
Research shows that rolling windows down or parking in the shade does not substantially impact the inside temperature and resultant risk of overheating—a car becomes a greenhouse even on a cloudy day.
Leaving a vehicle running with the air conditioning turned on also poses risks, including but not limited to: the vehicle accidentally being knocked out of gear by a pet or child, increased pollution, and breaking of an anti-idle ordinance in some cities, and potential engine failure.
Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing.
- Increased heart and respiratory rate.
- Mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse.
- Bloody diarrhea and vomit.
- An elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.