How to Keep Your Furry Friends Safe in the Summer Heat

Enjoy the outdoors with your pet while keeping them safe from heatstroke and paw burns.

Woman playing outside with pet in the summer heat.

Summer is the time to bask in the sun and let your pet enjoy the freedom of being outside. But when temperatures reach high numbers, being outside can become dreadful, especially if you’re a pet owner.

Temperatures that reach 90° and above can be dangerous and cause heat exhaustion, muscle cramps, and fainting. For pets, it can seem even hotter.

Heatstroke in pets

Like humans, pets can experience heatstroke if they are outside for too long, become dehydrated, or are left inside with no air conditioning. Your pet may have heatstroke if they are showing these signs:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness and incoordination
  • Seizing

Your pets can tell you when they’re feeling uncomfortable or unwell. Pay close attention to your pet while they are outside and make sure they have plenty of cold water to drink when they return inside.

If your pet is panting or feeling hot, you can also try applying ice packs or cold towels to their head or chest to cool them down. If symptoms continue, talk to your veterinarian.

Related: Pets May Help You Lead a Healthier Life

5 tips for keeping pets safe and cool outside

With some careful planning, your furry friend doesn’t have to be stuck inside this summer. Here are some ways you can keep your pet safe while being outside:

  • Take your pet out in the mornings and evenings. Reset your schedule to take walks and play outside with your pet in the mornings and evenings and spend less time outside during the middle of the day. They will enjoy the exercise and the cooler weather.
  • Limit your time outside. Your pet needs time outside to exercise and relieve themselves. However, avoid staying out in the heat for too long, and keep your pet from over-exercising if the temperatures are too high. You don’t want your pet to overheat. When you can’t go outside to play with them, create a fun play space inside, so they can still have fun and burn energy.
  • Find outside places that offer adequate shade. Shade protects against the sun’s harmful rays while allowing a soft breeze. Shady areas are ideal places to hang out with your pet. Locate local parks or walks that offer enough shading for you and your pet to relax.
  • Keep water close by for hydration. Whether you are outside for a long or short period of time, having water handy will help your pet stay hydrated while avoiding overheating. Adding some ice chips can even keep the water cool and crisp.
  • Check the asphalt. A good rule of thumb is if the ground is too hot for you to walk on, it is definitely too hot for your pet’s paws. Asphalt temperatures can heat up quickly and rise to 60° hotter than the air temperature. It only takes about 60 seconds for paw burns to happen if the asphalt is hot enough. Pick up your pet to avoid burning their paws on hot surfaces or walking on the pavement or in the grass.

Related: Here’s How to Avoid and Treat Heat Illnesses this Summer

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