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Ask a Veterinarian: Pets & Heat Safety

July 07, 2023 12:00 PM
By: Ready PA

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​Summertime is perfect for spending time outdoors with our furry friends. 

However, we need to make sure that our pets are safe and healthy, especially when the temperatures start rising. 

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can lead to permanent damage or worse. To help you keep your pets safe, we reached out to a veterinarian for expert advice on what you can do to ensure your pet's safety during the summer months. 

You'll learn everything from how to spot the signs of heat exhaustion to tips for keeping your pets cool and hydrated. 

Keep your furry friends happy and healthy this summer:

Q: Can I leave my pet in the car?
A. Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle — not even for a few minutes. The inside of the car can reach 120 degrees quickly. Keeping the windows cracked doesn’t keep the temperature down. 

Q: On hot days, do I have to limit my pet’s exercise?
A. Yes, limit exercise on hot days. If you must, exercise in the early morning or evening hours.

Q: What are the signs of heat stroke in a pet?
A. Look for these signs:
  • Heavy panting and unable to calm down when lying down
  • Gums are dark red, like bricks
  • Fast pulse rate
  • Unable to get up

Q: How do I prepare my beloved pets for extreme heat?
A. Here are five easy and simple things you can do:
  1. Ensure proper hydration: In addition to providing access to plenty of fresh water, consider adding electrolyte supplements to your pet's water dish to help replenish lost minerals. You can also freeze water in a bowl or container to create an ice block your pet can lick to stay cool.
  2. Modify exercise routines: During hot weather, avoiding strenuous exercise or play sessions during peak heat hours is best. Instead, opt for short and light walks during cooler times of the day, like early morning or late evening. Be sure to bring water for your pet on these outings.
  3. Offer ample shade: When your pets are outside, they should have access to shaded areas where they can rest and cool off. In addition to the natural shade provided by trees or bushes, consider setting up a portable canopy or umbrella to create a designated shaded area.
  4. Never leave pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked. The temperature inside a car can quickly rise to dangerous levels, leading to heat exhaustion or even death. 
  5. Look out for signs of heat stroke: Be vigilant for symptoms of heatstroke in your pet, such as excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or collapse. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, move them to a cool place and apply cool (not cold) water to their body. 

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