summer pet safetyWe consider ourselves pretty lucky to live in a subtropical climate. Sure, we have an occasional cold snap in the winter, but we’d be hard-pressed to hear anybody complaining about it. The other side of this coin is a scorching-hot summer. Triple-digit temperatures and high humidity have the potential to dangerously impact pets. With our summer pet safety measures, you can prevent certain health hazards far past Labor Day.

First, the Obvious

When the sun is beating down, the car is no place for a pet. Internal temperatures can reach 120-degrees in no time, leaving unattended pets at risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. If untreated, brain damage, organ failure, or even death can occur.


Cats and dogs sweat through their paw pads and pant to cool themselves down. This is efficient to a degree, but when a pet overworks, gets stuck in the sun, or becomes dehydrated, you could have a pet emergency on your hands.

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Excessive panting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Pale gums
  • Deep red or purple tongue
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Temperature of 104 degrees or higher

Summer Pet Safety Precautions

To mitigate any of the above symptoms, you’ll need to gradually bring the temperature down. Move your pet to a cool, shady, or dim area and apply wet, lukewarm towels to the back, neck or chest, and head. Please call us for further assistance as soon as possible, once you have begun these first-aid measures.

Too Hot for Exercise?

Pets should continue to get their exercise during the summer, but try to stick to the early morning or evening hours for this. Avoid hot concrete, asphalt, sand, or gravel and find grass instead.

Special care should be given to young animals, senior pets, short-muzzle breeds, pets with thicker or darker coats, and those with health conditions.

The Perfect Balance

The way to promote summer pet safety is through the combination of ample water and shade. If it is too hot for you to be outside, it is definitely too hot for your pet. An unprotected pet can develop skin and nose cancers, sunburn, and cataracts from UV rays.

Other Summer Pet Safety Considerations

The following tips aim to help you with additional summer pet safety concerns:

  • Don’t risk exposure to fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, or other gardening products like snail bait, as they can all poison your pet. Store these products securely.
  • Swimming is a wonderful antidote to the heat, but be sure to either outfit your pet in a lifejacket, or stay to the shallows. Try to discourage drinking water from the pool, ocean, all freshwater sources, such as rivers or lakes.
  • The summer is known for big block parties, neighborhood BBQ’s, parades, thunderstorms, and fireworks displays. If your pet becomes scared of the noises or crowds, he or she may run off. Protect your pet with a microchip and legible ID tags. Keep your pet at home and away from possible anxiety triggers.
  • A shallow wading pool, running sprinkler, or fountain can inspire your pet to drink more while cooling down. Frozen pet treats or large ice blocks left outside can also help.

Stay Well

If we can support your efforts towards summer pet safety, we hope you’ll let us know. Our veterinarians are always here to help your pet!