Keeping Pets Safe and Healthy in Summer

Make sure your day at the beach ends safely by providing shade and fresh water for your dog

Ahh summer—the season that’ s filled with sunshine, vacation and fun. It’s great to get out with friends, pets and family to enjoy the warm weather. Summer is also a season that can be filled with danger for your pets.

Dogs and cats don’t sweat like people do. The only sweat glands they have are on their paws. They also get rid of excess heat by panting. One of the most dangerous places for your pet is in your parked car. Even with the windows open, the temperature can rise rapidly to a potentially lethal level in minutes. So, don’t leave your pet in your parked car.

If you must leave your pets outdoors, be sure that they can find shade. Remember that the sun moves throughout the day, so don’t confine your pet outdoors without shelter. The best solution is providing your dog with a doggy door into an air conditioned or cool space. If you must leave your pet in a shady place outdoors, you can put frozen water-filled jugs in the shaded area where your pets rest to keep them cool. Be sure to leave plenty of fresh water that you replenish daily. Wash all pet bowls in hot soapy water daily to prevent disease.  If possible get a kiddie wading pool that your dog can lie down in and cool off. Be sure to change the water frequently for cleanliness and to discourage mosquitos.

Plan your walks in the early morning or in the evening if it cools down enough. Take water for yourself and your dog.

Understand the Signs of Heat Stroke

Because your dog will keep going even if he begins to get overheated, it’s important to recognize the signs of heatstroke.

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Wobbly or fatigued appearance
  • Acting anxious
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Swollen or dark red tongue and gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot ears, nose or legs

If your dog begins to show any of these symptoms, stop, find shade and offer cool water to drink. Don’t force your dog to drink, but cool his body with water. He should cool down and start acting normally, but if he doesn’t, get him to the veterinarian.

Heatstroke can cause coma and death, but with proper care your dog should recover completely.

The best cure for heatstroke is prevention. So have fun in the sun, but stay safe out there.