Keep Pets Cool During Summer

Summer is a great season to get outdoors with your best friends…including your pets. But remember that there are hazards for pets when temperatures rise. Here are some important tips:

• Dogs wear a winter coat year round and sweat only through their nose and paw pads, so they’re more susceptible to heat than we are. Dogs cool themselves through panting and drinking water, so provide plenty of water in the summer.

• Never leave a dog inside a car in hot weather. A car’s inside temperature can increase as much as 40 degrees in an hour. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise to 102 degrees in ten minutes!

• For outdoor dogs, bring them inside when the temperature spikes, and make sure they have a cool place in the shade and plenty of cold water (sunlight can heat a water bowl to the point that it’s undrinkable).

• As pets and other animals spend more time outside, the risk of certain illnesses, including rabies, rises dramatically. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and visit your veterinarian to learn more about flea and tick preventative treatments and heartworm pills for dogs.

• Many lawn products, such as fertilizer, are toxic if consumed by pets, so put them in a secure location.

A day at the beach can be fun, but make sure your dog can stay cool on the hot sand and remember salt water will dehydrate your pet. Bring drinking water and a portable bowl. Dogs love to swim, but inexperienced dogs can drown, so be careful.

• Dogs will exercise past the point of exhaustion to please a beloved companion. Whether jogging or playing fetch, be sensitive to their health and comfort.

• Your dog can’t tell you that it’s overheating, so be attentive. Signs of heatstroke are panting hard, staggering gait, rapid heartbeat, listlessness, restlessness, dark red or purple gums and tongue, and vomiting.

• If your dog does overheat, lower his body temperature gradually by immersing him in cool water or moving into an air conditioned location and giving him small amounts of cold drinking water or ice cubes. Then take him immediately to a veterinarian. A quick response could save your pet’s life.

Source: The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Visit the AVMA Web site at for more information.


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