The Commonwealth at York

When temperatures soar, it’s important to know how to keep your pet cool, comfortable and safe. Since some animals have to head outdoors for bathroom breaks and exercise, you’ll need to adjust your routine to help them stay active and keep cool in the heat.

When summer weather turns extreme, it’s best to avoid spending time outdoors with your pet unless necessary. Stick to shady areas, avoid hot sidewalks and never take them with you on errands or leave them in a hot car for even one minute. Choose to take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening, bring fresh, cool water along and watch your pet closely for signs of distress.

Here are hot weather safety tips to help keep both you and your pet cool and comfortable, so you can enjoy your best summer yet.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
Even one minute in a hot car can begin to send your pet into distress, which is why it is never a good idea to leave your pet in a car, period. While leaving the windows down may allow for air flow, it won’t keep the temperature from rising quickly inside your vehicle. On an 85 degree day, a vehicle with windows open can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. Keep your four-legged loved ones safe, and leave them home on hot days.

Watch the Humidity
Animals have an even harder time cooling down on humid days, since they pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs. When the humidity is high and the temperature is high, they simply can’t cool down. On extremely hot and humid days, keep your pets safe indoors in the cool air. When you have to head out for bathroom breaks or exercise, choose to go out early in the morning or later in the evening. Provide ample cool water, and keep the time spent outdoors short.

Limit Exercise
Even active dogs may need to limit their exercise time during the hottest weeks of summer to help keep them healthy and safe. Avoid taking those hour-long walks on your lunch break, and opt for a quick 15 minute loop in the early morning or in the evening instead. While you and your pup may both be itching for your regular jogs, use extreme weather days as rest days for you both to help keep your pup cool and comfortable.

Seek Shade & Water
When you do choose to head out with your pup for a walk or time spent outdoors, be sure to keep to shady areas that have constant air flow. Provide your pet with ample cool, fresh water. It may be a good idea to pup a few ice cubes into their water bowl to keep their water cold enough. When temperatures become extreme, remember to head indoors – even shade and cool water aren’t enough when both heat and humidity rise.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke in your pet, and it is important that you know the signs to help protect your pup from serious harm. Some warning signs are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, dizziness, excessive salivation, lack of coordination, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue or seizures. Very old or young dogs are at a higher risk for heat stroke. If you recognize these signs in your pup, take immediate action to move them into a cool or shaded area, run cool (not cold) water over their heads, apply ice packs to their head, neck or chest and take them immediately to a veterinarian.