With excessive heat warnings posted and searing triple-digit temperatures predicted for major cities or sections of every region of the continental United States, taking special care to protect your pets from the dangerous effects of scorching heat is crucial.
“Extreme heat is a very real, fast-acting threat to pets,” said Gina Lash, American Kennel Club® spokesperson. “Keep your dog out of hot cars, especially one that is unattended. When it’s only 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to a deadly 120 degrees or more in just minutes. Leaving the windows partially rolled down will not help. So, while it can be fun to take your dog with you to run errands, it’s best to leave him at home if he can’t go into the store with you.”
“Furthermore, your dog – who can never remove his fur coat – is susceptible to heat stroke and possible death in other scenarios brought on by the blistering weather we’re experiencing this summer,” continued Lash. “Blacktop or other areas that don’t receive proper cover or ventilation can be very dangerous, as is a lack of access to fresh water. Adequate, shaded shelter and plenty of cool water are essential to keeping your pet safe during this heat wave and throughout the year.”
Follow these additional safety tips to help keep your dog safe this summer.
- Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death. Signs of heatstroke are panting, drooling, rapid pulse and fever. Immediately immerse the dog in cool water and seek emergency veterinary assistance.
- If traveling with your dog by car, keep the interior of your car at cool temperatures. In addition, keep your dog cool by putting icepacks, such as frozen water bottles in his crate. Do not use freezer ice packs, which contain poisonous materials. Make sure the crate is well-ventilated. For more travel tips, visit https://www.akc.org/public_education/travel.cfm.
- Make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24-hours a day. If your dog travels with you, bring along water and a bowl.
- If kept outside, make sure your pet has access to a shaded and well-ventilated area. Remember that doghouses are not good shelter during the summer, as they can trap heat.
- Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
- Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs’ paws. Walk your dog on the grass or dirt, where it’s cooler.
- Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
- Mosquitoes, which may carry heartworm disease, along with fleas and ticks are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventative to keep these parasites off your dog.
- Keep dogs off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers. The AKC offers a list of toxic plants online.
- All dogs should have proper identification at all times. The AKC suggests a collar with an ID tag, along with a tattoo or a microchip.
For more safety tips and to read or download the AKC “Canine Summer Safety Tips,” visit https://www.akc.org/public_education/summer.cfm.