Keeping your pet safe and healthy is a year-round endeavor, but there are a few more considerations to keep in mind when it comes to pet safety in the summer, particularly regarding the heat.
Our pets get hot just like we do, and can suffer heat stroke if not properly cared for. Some pets may even be especially prone to overheating based on factors like age, size, breed, and existing health conditions. As their caregiver, it’s your job to prevent that from happening—and to help them stay as comfortable as possible while enjoying summer fun in the sun.
Below, we’re sharing our best hot weather safety tips for pets, with must-know information for keeping your pet safe and cool all summer long.
How to Keep Dogs Cool Outside
Whether it’s a day at the dog beach or just a long walk, you should always be taking steps to prevent your pup from overheating—and these five tips are a great place to start.
- Avoid the hottest parts of the day – We love walks and excursions as much as our dogs do, but during the summer it’s crucial to limit the time spent outside during the hottest hours of the day (usually between 10am and 5pm). Plan to do activities either early in the morning or later in the evening, and spend the rest of the day inside where it’s cool.
- Stick to the shade – Shade can make a huge difference. If you’re going to be spending time outside, set up shop under a tree or canopy, or get a travel dog tent so your pup always has a place to escape the sun.
- Provide fresh cold water – Prevent your dog from getting dehydrated by providing them with lots of cool water to drink. And if it’s really hot, throw some ice cubes in their water to get it as chilly as possible. This is also a great time to whip up some homemade pup-sicles!
- Know the beginning signs of heatstroke – Get your dog inside at the first sign of overheating. Things to look out for include lethargy, excessive panting, drooling, and increased heart rate.
- Don’t force it – If it’s too hot (or if your dog just doesn’t want to be outside), it’s totally fine to just relax indoors. We promise, cooler weather will be back before you know it and you can go back to spending more time out in the sun every day!
Need some ways to help your dog release pent-up energy when lingering walks are out of the question? Summer is perfect for breaking out puzzle games and treat-dispensing toys. You can also play indoor games with your dog like hide-and-seek, or set up an indoor agility course.
Summer Car Safety
Sometimes your pet has to go in the car with you on hot days. But heat stroke can happen fast in a car if proper precautions aren’t taken, so always put your pet’s safety first.
The first thing to note: never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, and more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour, even with the windows cracked. And don’t let your pet hang out the window when you’re driving, since this is a serious safety hazard.
Think running the AC is enough to preempt heatstroke? Not quite. You can’t rely on your car’s systems to run correctly when you’re not present. Plus, in many states, it is illegal to leave a pet alone in a car, even if it’s on (and that includes here in Florida).
What Temperature is Too Hot for a Dog?
The best rule of thumb for keeping pets safe in the heat is that if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Beyond that, the risk of heatstroke goes up considerably for dogs when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit—though you should begin to monitor your pup closely as soon as temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes double if it’s a sunny day.
Your pet relies on you to make the best decisions for their health. Follow the tips above for pet safety in the heat, and make sure to find lots of fun things to do with your furry friend this summer that doesn’t put them at risk of overheating.