Wildlife Wednesdays: Heat Safety For Your Pets | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Feb 7th 2022

Wildlife Wednesdays: Heat Safety For Your Pets

We all love when summer comes around and being able to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it is swimming in pools, going out on the lake, or enjoying BBQs, summer is also a time when temperatures really heat up and the humidity rises. Here are several tips to keep your pet cool and safe this summer season. 

1. Never leave your pets in a parked car, even if it is a few minutes

On a warm day, the inside of cars can heat up fast! For example, on an 85 degree day, even with the windows cracked, the inside temperature can reach up to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes! After 30 minutes, the temperature inside the car will reach 120 degrees! With the outdoor temps well in the 90's, the inside of your car can reach over 150 degrees! Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage, dehydration, and/or death. If you ever see a pet left in a hot car, take action! Call your local law enforcement immediately! 

2. Know the symptoms of overheating

Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, increased drooling, weakness, stupor, or even collapse. If the animal's body temperature is over 104 degrees, symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhea, or vomit, which can all lead to death. It is good to remember that it is not just the ambient temperature that can affect your animals. Days with high humidity can be hard for your pets to cool themselves and their body temperature can increase rapidly. Of note, animals with flat faces, such as Pugs or Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke as they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept indoors in an air-conditioned environment. 

3. Limit exercise on hot days

Pets need exercise to keep healthy, but it can be very unhealthy if exercise is done during the hottest parts of the day. Limit exercise on these type of days to early morning or evening hours. Also, asphalt gets VERY hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on grass if possible. To test this, put your hand on the asphalt, if it burns your hand quickly, it will burn your pet's paws. Always carry water with you to keep you and your pets from dehydrating. 

4. Provide shade and water

Any time your pet is outside, even for just a few minutes, make sure they have shade from the heat of the sun and PLENTY of cold water. During heat waves, is it a good idea to add ice to their water as well. Also, doghouses during heat waves do not provide a relief from the heat; it actually makes it more hot! Make sure you bring your outdoor pets inside at times to cool in the air conditioner, especially late afternoon, when outdoor temps are at their hottest. 

Summertime can be fun for all, but also can be uncomfortable and dangerous for people and pets. Make sure to keep your pet safe and cool this summer!