Pet Safety Series - Heat & Summer Pet Safety

Written by Staff Writer

As the weather warms up across the country, our furry friends spend more time outdoors and can be especially at risk for heat related issues and illnesses. Take special car of pets during the summer months with these summer pet safety tips!

Summer Pet Facts

Did you know that …

… pets can get sunburned too? Light-colored cats and dogs are also at a higher risk for skin cancer. Pet-safe sunscreen can be found at pet stores with SPF ratings just like the human stuff.

… dog bites increase in summer months? Dogs are more likely to become agitated when it is warm, so make sure to keep pets cool, happy and out of stressful situations.

… pets are more likely to get lost in the summertime? They spend more time outdoors and are more likely to become spooked by things like fireworks or get-togethers. Make sure they are wearing a collar with an updated ID tag!

… coolant and antifreeze taste super sweet and delicious to pets? Watch for any leaks in your garage and never let your pets drink out of puddles.

Never leave your pet in the car alone.

It might be tempting to take your pet on a ride when it is nice outside, but if you are planning on going into a store and leaving them in the car, it is best to just leave them at home. A car's temperature will rise approximately 40 degrees in an hour, most of which (80%) is in the first 30 minutes. Even on a relatively cool day, the risk of overheating is immense. Contrary to popular belief, cracking a window will not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature in the car.

Keep Your Pet Cool!

The number one summer priority is to keep your pet cool! Keep your pet out of direct sunlight and try to make sure they have a cool, shaded place to rest. On walks, try to avoid hot pavement or sidewalks; stick to grassy areas or shaded spots to keep the pads of their feet as cool as possible. Try adding ice cubes into their normal water dish and make sure to fill the water dish often to ensure they have something cool and clean to drink. Brush fur regularly, as a clean and untangled coat can help to ward off summer skin problems and overheating. Cats and other indoor pets will seek out cooler areas of the home, so allowing them access to rooms without much sun or closets can help them keep cool.

If your pet may be overheating, there are some clear signs that might help you to diagnose the start of heat stroke. Collapsing, bloody diarrhea or vomit, stupor, seizures, excessive panting or difficulty breathing can all be signs of a high body temperature. Remove them from direct heat as soon as possible and spray with cool water. A water-soaked towel on the head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen combined with a cooling fan can help to lower the body temperature. The immediate goal is to decrease the body temperature within the first ten to fifteen minutes of overheating. You should also seek veterinary help as soon as possible - some consequences, including heart, kidney, respiratory or neurological damage, may take hours or days to appear, so it is important to have immediate care from a professional.

Cool Treats For Pets

Cool treats can help pets to cool down and they love the delicious taste! Toys such as tough, chewable Kong toys can be stuffed with wet food or other yummy substances and frozen to create hours of cool fun for pets. You can also use ice cube trays to make "pupcicles" for your furry friends!

Yummy Pupsicles

16 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth

3 ounces of cubed cheese

Small containers with lids, pet bowls, ice cube trays or freezable toys (such as Kongs)

Add chunks of cubed cheese to containers, then cover with chicken broth. Freeze until fully frozen, then let doggie enjoy!

Other combinations can include peanut butter, mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin, carrots, baby food and more! You can mix in dry kibble, wet dog food or crushed dog biscuits for texture; experiment and find what your dog loves!

Cooling Catsicles

Mix a can of your cat's favorite wet food - smooth (not chunky) works best — with a few soft cat treats or catnip. The mixture should be mostly cat food! Portion into an ice cube tray, plastic cups or other small containers.