Summer Pet Safety Tips

June 1, 2022

It may have been a cold and rainy start to 2022 but summer is on its way, and with it comes the summer heat! While spending time out in the sun can be a fun way to pass the time, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Here are a few tips to make the best of this summer with your furry companion:

Keep fresh water on hand

We all know the happy relief water provides for us on a hot day, so when you pack water for yourself, don’t forget to grab some for your pet! Animals get dehydrated easily, so it’s important to have fresh, clean water on hand or nearby.

Watch for symptoms of heatstroke

A pet that is overheating can show excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomit, along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. If your pet is showing these symptoms, treat them for heatstroke right away by moving them to the shade or an air-conditioned area and then get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Remember, some animals are more susceptible to heatstroke, including animals with flat faces– since they can’t pant as effectively, elderly animals, overweight animals, and those with heart or lung issues. If your animal has one of these conditions, they should be kept in cool, indoor rooms as much as possible during hot weather.

Never leave your animals alone in a parked car

It is not safe for pets to be left in a parked car when it is hot out. Studies have shown that even when parked in the shade, even with sunscreen, and even with windows cracked, the temperature in a car on a hot day goes from hot to deadly in just a few minutes. Even if you are just running into a store, your pet is at risk of heatstroke and death from a hot car.

When it is 70 degrees outside, a car can reach 89 degrees in 10 minutes and 104 degrees in 30 minutes or less. If you witness a pet in a hot car, here’s what you can do to help:

If you are at a store, go into the store and page for the owner to return to their car. If the owner can’t be found, call 911 and report the incident – all calls to Animal Control in Kitsap County are dispatched through 911.

Know when your pet has had enough outdoor playtime

Dogs are eager to please and will try to keep up on hikes and runs, even in the heat of summer. In addition, many dogs may have little self-control when it comes to playing outdoors. As the pet’s guardian, it is up to you to make sure your dog isn’t overdoing it. During excessive heat warnings, exercise and exertion should be kept to a minimum, as your dog can easily overheat. If you plan to do extended walks or hikes with your dog during the heat, plan for early morning, and make sure to have plenty of access to drinkable water and shade.

Hot asphalt and little toe beans do not mix!

The bottoms of our pets’ feet are VERY sensitive. Before taking your dog for a walk on pavement, or allowing your cat out on a paved patio or porch, touch the pavement and keep your hand on the surface for 30 seconds. If the heat of the concrete is uncomfortable for you to touch, it will be too uncomfortable for your pet. During the hottest part of the day and during excessive heat warnings, avoid walking your dog on the road or sidewalk- opt for the grass or other naturally cooler surfaces. Exposure to hot surfaces can cause blistering, burns, and lameness that require veterinary care.

Don’t forget to protect your outdoor pets!

Outdoor animals like cats, dogs, livestock need extra care and attention during the summer heat. Water evaporates in excessive heat, and your animals may be more thirsty than usual. Make sure your outdoor pets have constant access to clean drinking water. If you have grazing animals like cows, horses, goats, or llamas, keep in mind that grass dies during the hot summer months, and you have to make sure they have plenty of access to food when grazing becomes difficult. Meat-based foods for cats and dogs spoil quickly in hot weather, so food should be placed in the shade and fed in multiple smaller quantities (instead of just one big meal). Lastly, all outdoor animals should have access to shade. Ensure they have a cool, shaded place to retreat to during the hottest parts of the day.

Wishing you and your furry family a safe and fun summer!