Hot Weather Safety for Pets
Summer’s long, sunny days often give us more time to spend outdoors with our furry companions. Being overeager in hot weather can potentially spell danger to pets, though. Prevent your pet from overheating with these simple steps from our experts here at the ASPCA:
Check in with your veterinarian. Ensure your pets are tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
Stay hydrated. Pets can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot and/or humid. Make sure your pets have a shaded place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors in air conditioning or out of the sun when it’s extremely hot.
Know the symptoms of overheating in your pet. Excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiration rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or collapse can all be signs your pet is overheated. Other symptoms may include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees F (40C).
Know which animals are more susceptible. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Keep them, along with elderly, overweight, heart- or lung-disease suffering pets in cool, air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Don’t leave your pet in a parked vehicle. It lead to fatal heat stroke, and it is illegal in several states!
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool – as some dogs are not good swimmers. Gradually introduce your pets to water and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
Watch those open doors and windows. Open, unscreened windows pose a danger to pets, who may fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
Know the best grooming practices for your pets. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn, so avoid shaving them entirely. Brushing cats more often can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
Be aware of what chemicals are in your yard. Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has been exposed to a poisonous substance.
Keep human foods and beverages away from pets. Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, depression, and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Check out our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
The ASPCA was founded in 1866 and is a non-profit organization devoted to ensuring the kind and respectful treatment of animals. Its Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is a resource available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.