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August 01, 2020 4 min read

With summer upon us, you probably have lots of outdoor activities planned to enjoy with your furry companion. But keep in mind that summers can be difficult on pets, whether they’re outdoors or inside.

Just as we can overheat, so can our pets. As you and your cat or dog enjoy the summer, it’s important to make sure your pet stays cool, hydrated, and happy.

Here are our top 6 pet safety tips to keep in mind this summer:

1. Never leave your pet in a parked car

If you’re out and about with your pet, it can be tempting to leave them in the car while you run into the store or go have lunch. After all, it’s not that hot out and you won’t be that long. But the truth is it’s never safe to leave your pet unattended in a parked car, even if you crack a window. (In fact, it’s even illegal in some states.)

Even in relatively mild heat, the inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures in a matter of minutes because of the greenhouse effect. Each year, hundreds of pets die from heatstroke after being left unattended in a vehicle.

Dog Sticking Head Out The Window

Tip: If you need to travel with your pet, plan ahead and make sure you know where you can and can’t take them. It’s best to have a human companion with you so one of you can stay with your pet (preferably with the air conditioner running) in parking lots and rest stops.

2. Limit exercise and time outdoors on hot or humid days

Humidity can impact your pet’s ability to keep cool in the heat, especially if they’re running around outside. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their tongue and lungs, which cools their bodies. The more humid the environment, the more difficult it is for pets to cool down. On very hot and humid days, this can lead to heatstroke.

Overheated Dog Outside in the Grass in Summer

Checking both the ambient temperature and humidity levels each morning can help you decide when to let your cat or dog out, and when to keep them safely inside. On humid days, you might want to take them out in the early morning and keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day.

Also keep in mind that your pet is not immune to skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure, so it’s not a bad idea to encourage them to stay in the shade on sunny days.

3. Help your pet stay hydrated

Keeping your pet cool from the inside out is the best way to keep them comfortable. There’s nothing like a drink of cold water to refresh your pet on those hot summer afternoons.

Dog Drinking from Hose Keeping Cool in the Summer

Here are a few easy ways to make sure your pet stays hydrated in the heat:

  • Add ice to your dog or cat’s water bowl on hot days.
  • Switch to wet food or add some cool water to your pet’s dry food.
  • Carry a bottle (or two) of water and a small bowl with you whenever you head out with your pet in the heat.
  • Make peanut butter popsicles to keep in your freezer and give to your pet as cooling treats.

4. Keep your furry friend’s paws protected

Have your feet ever hurt from walking on hot sand at the beach or hot cement on your patio? This can happen to your pet’s paws as well, but they don’t have any way to let you know they’re uncomfortable. Pavement, asphalt, sand, metal, wood, and the surfaces in your car or truck can become extremely hot and burn your little one’s paws.

Cat Paws that are Overheated

Here are a few ways to keep your pet’s paws safe from hot surfaces:

  • Place a hand or barefoot on the sidewalk or other outdoor surface and leave it there for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your pet.
  • Do your best to stick to grassy or shady areas on hot days.
  • Try to avoid the hottest hours of the day and let your pet out in the early morning and late evening.
  • Invest in a pair of booties, like the Lavasox Summer Dog Boots, to keep your pet’s paws cool in the heat and safe from burns!

5. Wrap your pet in a cooling vest or body wrap

It’s a shame to have to leave your dog at home while you go out hiking or for a fun-filled day at the park or beach because you’re worried about them overheating. A good cooling vest, like the Kurgo Dog Cooling Vest, can help keep your pup cool outdoors.

Owner with Dog Wearing Cooling Vest for Safety during Hot Summer

Here’s how it works: you simply wet the vest with cool water, wring out the excess, and strap it to your dog. It’s designed to deflect the heat of the sun and it uses prolonged evaporation to keep your furry friend cool. Once it’s dry, just wet it again to keep your dog cool and comfortable all day.

RELATED10 Tips for Hiking with Dogs & the Gear to Bring

6. Check for signs of heatstroke

Prevention is the best medicine, but when it comes to heatstroke, it’s important to know what signs to look for so you can act quickly and prevent long-term damage to your pet’s health.

Cat Sitting on Wooden Chair

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Stupor or unsteadiness
  • Collapse
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Also, short-nosed breeds (pugs, bulldogs, Persian cats, etc.) are more susceptible to overheating, so it’s especially important to take precautions with these pets.

Let us help you keep your furry family member cool this summer!

At King Duke’s, we treat your pet like family, because that’s what they are. We know how important their health and safety are to you, and we love helping pets and their people find the perfect products for their summer adventures and beyond.

Shop online or come by our store in Beaverton to find great pet safety products and everything else your furry companion needs.

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