Overly hot and humid days are not the norm in Northern California, but we do get our share of warm temps. The summer heat means spending as much time as possible outdoors, at the pool or beach, and of course enjoying popsicles and lemonade. 

When it comes to our pets, it’s important to keep in mind that they need a little extra TLC when temperatures heat up. Heat safety for pets is a priority for responsible pet owners everywhere. As your partners in pet care, Redwood Veterinary Hospital has tips and tricks to take the best care of your furry pal when the temperatures climb. 

Heat Stroke Dangers

Our pets may love to play outside, but they don’t always know when enough’s enough. It’s up to us to decide when our dog has played long enough at the dog park, or fetched enough balls in the lake. Otherwise, overheating and heat stroke may result. 

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Weakness or incoordination
  • Dark red gum color
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness/ collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

If you see the signs of heatstroke in your pet, don’t hesitate. Take them to a cooler environment or shade immediately. If possible, wrap your pet in towels soaked in cool (never icy) water, and transport to the nearest veterinarian right away. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires veterinary intervention to remedy. Even if your pet seems better, she should be seen right away. 

Heat Safety for Pets

There are a few simple steps you can take to provide comfort and safety for your pet when it’s hot outside. Here are the basics: 

No cars – It’s common advice that bears repeating. Never, ever leave your pet in a parked vehicle. Being left alone in a car is the number one reason for heat related deaths in pets –even in the shade, even with the windows cracked. It’s not worth losing your pet over a moment or two of convenience.

Walk when it’s cool – To avoid the risk of heat stroke, walk, run, or exercise with your pet on the cooler ends of the day. Early morning and evening outings are a safer option for games of fetch and other forms of exercise.

Look ahead – When you’re out and about with your pet, be mindful of hot surfaces than can burn sensitive paws. Concrete, sand, paving stones, pool pads, and even manhole covers can all be scorching hot and dangerous for pets. Rest your hand on the surface. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads.

Basic instincts – Likewise, if it feels too hot for you outside, it’s too hot for your pets. Keep them inside with the A/C  and/or fans running. Always provide access to shade and fresh, cool, drinking water at all times.

Cool down – Playing it cool with your pet when it’s hot is fun! Fill up a kiddie pool in your yard, turn on the sprinklers, and get creative. Add ice cubes to their water bowl or even create popsicles with pet friendly frozen vegetables and fruits. A drinking fountain is also a great way to encourage pets – especially cats – to stay hydrated.

If you have questions about summer heat safety for pets or pet general health, please call your team at Redwood Veterinary Hospital. We’re here for you!