Just as you take precautions to protect yourself and your family, you should also remember to take precautions to protect your pet from the same summer heat. Remember this simple rule when your pet is outside: If it seems hot to you, it is much hotter for your pet.
- Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your dog may have a heat stroke, get them to the vet ASAP.
- Never leave your pet in a hot car, even with the windows down. And leaving the air conditioning on is no guarantee that your dog will be safe. Pets react to extreme heat and they are prone to heat exhaustion. So, just as you wouldn’t leave a child in a hot vehicle, you should also never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle, even for just 10 minutes
- Provide plenty of fresh water. You will need to refill your dog’s water bowl more often than usual on very hot days. Add a few ice cubes to their water or offer them a cool treat.
- Beware of hot surfaces. For dogs and cats specifically, their paws are extremely sensitive to the elements. Choose to walk your pets in the cooler times of the day, in the morning or evening. To test a hot surface, do the hand test. Place the back of your hand on the surface for 5 seconds and if it is too hot to handle, it is too hot for your pet.
- Take your walks in the morning or evening. The intense heat of midday can overwhelm your dog during a walk.
- Never rely on a fan. The Humane Society says, “Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet. Simple fans will not cool off pets as effectively as they do people.”
- Don’t leave your dog alone outside for more than a few minutes. Even in the shade, a dog exposed to extreme heat and humidity is at risk for heatstroke.