Vet Editorial: Hot Weather Tips

Hot! Hot! Hot! That’s the best way to describe our local weather pattern lately. And with the high temperatures and humidity, we need to discuss how best to keep our pets safe from the heat.

  • Make sure that “outdoor” dogs have shade to escape the heat. It’s best to keep all pets indoors when the temperatures become extreme.
  • Ensure your pets always have access to plenty of fresh water.
  • NEVER leave a pet closed up in the car. The sun shining through car windows raises the temperature rapidly, and it takes less than 10 minutes to create life-threatening conditions for your pet inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t allow your pet to stand outside too long and keep your walks short. Hot asphalt and concrete can burn your dog’s foot pads.
  • If your dog enjoys being outdoors, keep activity times (running, playing Frisbee, etc.) restricted to the early mornings or late evenings during times of the day when the weather is cooler.
  • Avoid leaving your pets loose outside where they may become lost or stolen.
  • If you plan to take your dog to the beach with you, make sure to provide a shaded area when out on the sand. You should also rinse the fur off well with fresh water after swimming, and do not allow your dog to drink salt water.
  • The summer brings plenty of parasites (mosquitoes, fleas, ticks) so continue giving your cats and dogs their monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.
  • Veterinarians often treat animals for heat stroke in the summer. Heat stroke can be fatal, which is why following the above tips is so important. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, lethargy, and bright red or dark gums. Affected pets may also be warm to the touch. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, rinse the fur in cool water and seek veterinary care immediately. This is a medical emergency!!