The Heat Is On! Keeping Your Pets Safe This Summer.

Merritt Milam | May 1, 2022

As summer rapidly approaches and our outdoor activities increase, it’s important to make sure to keep your pets safe from the risk posed by the hot, humid weather. Even if your pet is mostly confined indoors, a few minutes of extremely hot temperatures can be dangerous to your pet’s health.

This month we cover heat-related issues to help you and your pets stay safe and happy.

Heat Stroke

Dogs normally have a body temperature between 100° and 103° F. When that temperature exceeds 103° it is considered abnormal – above 106° and your pet is in danger of having a heat stroke.

While the human body will sweat to help lower temperature, pets can only pant and drink water to cool themselves down. A pet can reach the temperature danger zone for heatstroke in a matter of minutes. Even a short walk on a very hot, humid day can put your pet at serious risk of injury. Knowing the signs of overheating could save your pet.

  • Heavy panting
  • Dry or bright red gums
  • Thick drool
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wobbly legs
  • Lethargy (or appearing disoriented)

If your pet is experiencing any signs of heat exhaustion, get them to a cool place, provide water to drink, and place a damp towel over their body. Do not place them in cold water; this could cause them to go into shock. Most importantly – get them to a vet immediately!

Hot Weather Tips

While some of these tips may seem obvious, following through is usually where most people fall short. Often this lack of follow-through is not a failure of concern, but a lack of understanding that the pet is at risk.

Minimizing the risk of heat-related illness includes:

  1. Provide plenty of fresh, clean water and shade
  2. Bring a bottle of water on walks for your pet
  3. Consider switching your pet to a wet food for extra moisture during the hot summer months to increase their fluid intake
  4. Apply sunscreen if your pet is going to be outside for much of the day. Pets with short or light-haired coats can get sunburned like humans. Ask your veterinarian for a pet-approved brand.
  5. Keep your dog’s paws cool. Use the 7-second rule – touch the pavement with the back of your hand for 7 seconds. If the surface is too hot for you – it’s too hot for your pet!
  6. NEVER leave your pet in the car. Either take them with you or leave them at home. In just one hour the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees when the outside temperature is 80 degrees.
  7. Don’t overdo exercise. A walk in the neighborhood or park with your dog is good exercise – but on a hot day be careful. Go early in the morning or late in the day when temperatures are lower. Take plenty of water for you and your dog.
  8. Create a cool treat – make frozen bars with plain water and a touch of beef bouillon. That will get their tail wagging on a hot day.

Wags Day Care – Fun Without The Hot Sun!

If your pet needs to work off a little energy or just likes to play with friends, Wags Day Care is the answer – especially on a hot summer day. Our indoor facility is climate controlled, supplied with plenty of freshwater, and staffed by trained Camp Counselors who keep your pet safe and happy.

To reserve your pet’s cool day of play, call (205) 902-WAGS (9247).

We hope these tips help you and your best furry friend stay safe from the heat this summer. Keep those tails wagging!