Summer Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats

Photo credit: Flickr user BigBirdz

Photo credit: Flickr user BigBirdz

Summer means vacations, BBQ’s and fun in the sun! Let’s keep everyone safe this summer season, including our four-legged family members, by reviewing a few pet safety tips that could prevent heat-related illness and costly vet visits.

Keeping Pets Cool When it Gets Hot

The inside of a car is not the only dangerous place to leave an animal in the summer. A mere three degree rise in temperature can put animals at risk. While puppies and kittens, along with adult pets that are older, large, overweight or on medication are at the highest risk, even healthy pets can become dehydrated or experience heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke include: heavy panting, heavy breathing, bright red gums, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, disorientation, seizures, and coma. (Via

Do you know how to keep your pets safe during a heatwave?

  • Walk dogs in the morning before it heats up or after the sun goes down.
  • Keep in mind that asphalt gets much hotter than ambient temperatures and paw pads are susceptible to burns. Press your hand to the asphalt for seven seconds to verify it will be comfortable for your dog to walk on.
  • Leave pets at home if you need to run errands. It only takes minutes for interior car temperatures to reach dangerous levels.
    • At 70 degrees, interior car temperatures have been measured at 99 degrees after twenty minutes!
  • Make sure that your pets have plenty of water and shade.
  • If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, bring it into air conditioning. You can immerse it in cool (not cold) water and be sure to contact your local veternarian.

General Summertime Safety Tips For Pets

  • Keep pets away from hot BBQ grills or coals.
  • Store pesticides and fertilizers out of reach of pets.
  • Grass seed can get into curious dog noses! Keep seeds out of reach.
  • Dogs that watch you plant bulbs may dig them up. The bulbs can be poisonous.
  • Dogs or cats with white noses or ear tips can sun burn.  If your pet will wear sunscreen, that’s great.  (Most of them will lick it off.)  It’s best to keep them in the shade when the sun is bright.
  • Keep plenty of clean, fresh water around the house and yard.

Fireworks Safety For Pets

Keep pets safe - July 4 Pets | Helen Woodward Animal Center

Increased heat isn’t the only danger during summer! Keep your pets safe during summer celebrations, too.

  • More family pets will run away from home on July 4, Independence Day, than during any other time of the year because of fireworks.
  • Do not bring your pets along to any fireworks displays.
  • Bring your pets indoors before fireworks displays begin.
  • Make sure that your pets have access to their favorite “safe place” or find a quiet, comfortable, enclosed room where your pets can hide if they need to.
  • If you are going to a fireworks display and leaving your pets at home alone, leave the radio or television set on so there is some “normal” background noise.
  • Make sure your pets are micro-chipped. Many of the pets that run away during the fireworks will escape by slipping out of their collars. A micro-chip identification will assure that your pet is returned if it ends up at an animal shelter.
  • Be proactive and check with your pet’s micro-chip company that your information is up-to-date in case anything happens.

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