Beat The Heat: Summer Pet Safety

Beat the heat with our summer pet safety guide! There are extreme hit risks for pets in the summertime, and pets can get heatstroke just like humans. Reduce the risk of heatstroke in pets by keeping them in the shade when possible, always having water on hand, and keep pets indoors when there are extreme heat warnings. Learn to recognize signs of heatstroke in your pets with more helpful summer pet safety tips listed below.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Did you know that animals do not sweat all over their bodies like humans do? Perspiration occurs around the paws of animals, so it doesn’t do much to cool their bodies down. Instead, they pant in order to release the excess heat from their bodies. The air that travels through their nasal passages combines with the excess body heat. The air and the excess heat then come out the animal’s mouth. During hot weather, it is important to properly care for your pet and be aware of unhealthy behaviors.

Extreme Summer Heat Risks for Pets

Beware of heatstroke. Animals can suffer from heatstroke, too and need immediate treatment, as it can be fatal. Call the vet right away to alert them to the problem and get the animal to them as quickly as possible.

You can apply towels, or something similar, that have been soaked in cool water to parts of the body, which do not have hair in order to help to lower the body temperature. This often helps them to temporarily feel better after several minutes only to later have their body temperature rise again.

In extreme cases, the vet will have special treatment options, such as intravenous fluid therapy, which they can use to help further cool the animal but time is of the essence.

Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke in Animals

The signs and symptoms of heatstroke for an animal are different than those for humans. The following list of symptoms can all be related to heatstroke in your animal:

  • Staring
  • An expression that appears anxious
  • A heartbeat which is rapid
  • Skin that is dry and warm
  • A fever which is high
  • Panting
  • Collapse
  • Not obeying commands
  • Vomiting

Remember if you see your pet suffering from these symptoms act immediately and seek medical attention, if needed.

Preventive Measures

Did you know that the sun can raise the temperature in a car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of mere minutes? This can occur even when the windows are down. The moral of the story is “don’t ever leave your pets in the car.”

There are also many other ways to keep your pets safe when it’s hot outside. Water is essential. Whether it’s hot or cold outside or whether your pet is outside or inside, animals always need lots of water. If you travel with your pet always make sure you bring plenty of water with you for them.

If your pet must be outside when it’s hot make sure they have shade. Keep in mind that shade will move throughout the day and an animal can quickly overheat and become sick. If it’s a really hot day it’s always best to have your pet inside.

Also, an animal’s fur can trap too much heat so you may want to have him clipped or shaved when it’s hot. This will help him to be more comfortable. Finally, don’t let your pet become overexerted because it could cause him to overheat. Exercise is still important for good health but keep walks at an easy pace when it’s hot.

When it’s Best to Keep Pets in Air Conditioning

Certain pets are not able to handle heat as well as others. Animals who are sick, elderly or very young are not able to regulate their body temperature as well as other animals. Make sure to keep these pets out of the sun and cool when it’s really hot outside. An air conditioned environment is best for keeping these animals cool.

Also, dogs that are overweight overheat more easily than other dogs. This is because of their excess fat layers which trap more heat in their bodies and make breathing more difficult. These dogs as well would be much better off in an air conditioned room than outside when it’s hot.

In addition dogs with snub noses, such as Pugs and Pekingese, are also more likely to overheat when it’s hot outside, so keep them inside and in air conditioning as much as possible as well. These dogs have a problem efficiently panting so it is difficult for them to stay cool. Summer can still be fun for pets but do what’s best for your animal when it’s excessively hot.

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