8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Summer Heat

Summer: the kids are out of school, the ice creams trucks chime as they drift through our neighborhoods, and our beloved pets are excited to enjoy some summertime adventures. While we can’t wait to hear about all the expeditions you emBARK upon, we also want to share some unbeatable tips to help you and your pet beat the heat this summer!

1. Save Your Walks and Exercise for Mornings and Evenings

One easy way to keep your cat or dog safe in the summer heat is to keep them indoors during the hottest times of the day. Walking your dog when the sun is still low or ready to set will help you sweat less and keep your dog cool as she burns off her extra energy. Be especially mindful of our flat-nosed pup friends, i.e. pugs, bulldogs. They can sometimes struggle to breathe in the heat. 

2. Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

In many ways, dogs are like kids: they never say “no” to a treat, they are always up for an adventure, and they never seem to tire out when they’re having fun. The last one is especially true and one reason we end up treating many dogs during the summer for heatstroke and heat exhaustion. 
 
When your dog is having fun, she doesn’t know to slow down as she gets too hot, which makes watching for signs of overheating even more important.
 
Heatstroke can do permanent damage and even be fatal.

Signs of Heatstroke (in Dogs and Cats)
 
  • Pale or bright red gums
  • A vividly red tongue
  • Fast panting that doesn’t slow down
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lethargy or reluctance to play
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tremors and shaking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure
  • Stumbling or falling over
  • Lack of urination
  • Confusion
  • Coma
If you think your dog is experiencing heatstroke, you will want to dowse her in cool or room temperature water (not freezing cold water--this will send her into shock). Then call us and bring her in immediately. 

3. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water for Your Pets
 
If your dog or cat is planning on lounging in the backyard or on the patio, make sure she has access to clean, fresh, cool water. Keeping hydrated during summer will help your pet better manage the heat.
 
Did you know that dogs and cats pant to cool off? Panting leads to water evaporating off their tongues which cools them off. They also lie on cool surfaces to transfer their heat away from their bodies.
 
If you’re planning a long walk or hike, bring bottled water. While it’s a blast for dogs to splash in the lake, you don’t want your dog to drink too much lake water. 

4. Don’t Let Your Pup or Cat Burn Their Precious Paws
 
Dogs’ and cats’ toes are especially vulnerable since they don’t have fur to protect them from hot surfaces. To protect your pets’ paws, always check the temperature of the pavement or walking surface before letting them walk on it.
 
If a surface is too hot for you to leave your hand on for more than a few seconds, it’s unsafe for your pet to walk on.
 
Pay careful attention to asphalt and false grass. These can reach temperatures of 160-degrees!

5. Create a Shady Oasis in Your Yard
 
Want to invest in a baby pool just for your dog? Great! Whether you’re ready to install a wading pool for your pup, or not, at least provide plenty of shade for them to relax in.
 
Dogs and cats enjoy the mental stimulation of the backyard and a shady refuge will help keep the sun off them. You can even use a beach umbrella!

6. Make Your Dog a Pup-cicle
 
Create frozen treats to help your dog cool off after long walks. Frozen peanut butter (xylitol-free, of course!) or frozen yogurt work really well. Add some blueberries to make them extra delectable.
 
For obvious reasons, we don’t have any appetizing cat popsicle recipes. ; )

7. Protect Your Pet from Sunburn
 
If you are worried about your dog getting sunburned, you can use a pet safe zinc-free sunblock on her nose and thin areas of fur. Zinc-free sunblocks are usually the best. 

8. Never, Ever Leave Your Pet in the Car
 
Temperatures can quickly escalate to over 110 degrees in your car - and this is just at temperatures are 70 degrees outside. Higher temperatures can quickly soar to 135+ degrees. Cracking windows simply is not sufficient enough to protect your pet. Please leave them at home - they'll be cooler, AND safer.
 
We hope you create some unbeatable memories with your best friend this summer!
 
 
 
Image credit: vvvita | iStock | Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800