My Top Seven Most Important Summer Heat Safety Tips For Pets

You may be aware that cold weather poses health risks to your pets, but hot weather can be equally dangerous—even on days that don’t feel all that particularly hot to you. Understanding these risks and being prepared can help ensure your pet’s safety in the heat of the summer.

Here are my top heat safety tips for pets:

Try to avoid walks during the hottest part of the day, if possible. If a midday walk is unavoidable, shorten the walk considerably, and be sure to provide plenty of breaks in the shade as well as plenty of water.

Hold the back of your hand on the pavement or asphalt for seven seconds to check how hot it is before you walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for their paws. Keep in mind that pavement and asphalt are much hotter than the ambient air temperature.

heat safety tips for pets

Protect the paws and their skin from burns. If you need to be outside with your pet during the hottest parts of the day, consider investing in booties that will protect their paw pads from burns and blisters. Try to do as much of your walking on grass and dirt, as opposed to sidewalks and asphalt (which can get extremely hot!). If your dog doesn’t like the feel of protective coverings such as boots, try a topical product such as Musher’s Secret, which creates a protective wax barrier between your dog’s paws and any surface they touch.

heat safety tips for pets
Dog wearing booties to protect its paws

Keep pets cool with plenty of water and frozen treats. All that panting that a dog does to cool down takes a toll. Dogs lose moisture much faster than humans, so they should always have access to fresh, cool water. Deep bowls of cool water will stay chilled longer than shallow bowls, and you can also add ice to prolong the chill. Consider providing a fun, frozen treat as well.

Treat tray filled with Kefir and frozen

Get splashy! A kiddie pool, a lawn sprinkler, or even just the backyard hose are fun activities for dogs who like to get wet! But exercise caution – always supervise your dog when she is outside and never leave her alone with a kiddie pool.

heat safety tips for pets
Pup cooling off on a hot day in a kiddie pool.

Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle. Studies show that on a 75-degree day, temps inside a car (with windows cracked) can rise to 100 degrees in 10 minutes. Temps in dark-colored cars can rise even more, reaching temps of 200 degrees!

heat safety tips for pets
A dog panting in the heat from being left in the back of a car on a hot day, with another dog in the background

Know the warning signs of heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke can include the following:

  • Excessive Panting (first sign)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling (thick salivation)
  • Bright red tongue
  • Weakness and staggering around
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, place cool (not ice cold, as this can do more harm!), wet washcloths on his head and neck, and cool compresses on his belly and under his back legs. Call your vet’s office immediately and seek their advice about the next steps. Quick action could save your pet’s life!

heat safety tips for pets
Close-up of a Rottweiler dog with its mouth open and tongue out, panting heavily

Enjoy the heat, but be sensible. If you think it’s too hot for your dog to be outside, then don’t do it; it’s far better to be cautious and safe! Do you have any additional heat safety tips for pets tips to add to my list? Comment below.