How to keep pets safe in hot weather

Household 3 min read

The summer is a great time for going out and having fun with your dog, but a few risks come along with the heat. Dogs and heat aren’t a great mix. Here are five safety tips for dogs in hot weather.

Summer safety tips for dogs

1. Provide adequate access to shade & water

A dog needs to drink much more water during the summer to keep cool. Give your dog access to fresh, clean water at all times.

  • Bring a bottle of water along on walks
  • When your dog is outside, make sure they have a shady spot to rest
  • On sweltering days keep your dog indoors to help them remain cool and safe
  • Bring plenty of fresh water to the beach, as salt water is toxic to dogs

2. Keep your dog’s paws safe from the heat

Knowing what temperature is too hot for a dog can be difficult. Asphalt, gravel, and pavement can heat up quickly in the sun, despite the overall temperature, and burn your dog’s paw pads. Before deciding if you can walk your dog in the heat, place your hand on the ground. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

  • Avoid walking your dog on the pavement during the hottest hours of the day
  • Take walks in the morning before the pavement heats up
  • Walk your dog in grassy or wooded areas
  • Walk in the evening after it’s cooled down

3. Never leave your dog alone in a hot car

An essential safety tip for dogs in hot weather is to never leave your dog alone in a hot car. Dogs can’t regulate their temperature as efficiently as we do in the heat. In a hot car, they recycle all that hot air through panting. Leaving a dog in a hot car can be deadly. The temperature inside a parked car can reach 120 degrees within minutes with the temperature rising steadily by the minute. Cracking the windows does not help when it comes to keeping the car cooled down.

Not only is leaving your dog in a hot car dangerous for their health, but it’s also illegal in many states. If someone damages your car by breaking in to help your dog, they can often be granted immunity from paying for any damages incurred.

Learn more tips for car safety in the summer and safety advice for traveling with pets in the car.

4. Avoid strenuous exercise on hot days

Dogs can’t regulate their body temperature and are at a greater risk of heatstroke, which can be lethal. Lessen the risk by avoiding strenuous exercise with your dog during the hottest parts of the day. Go on walks during the evening or morning hours when it’s cooler outside and less humid.

Flat-faced breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke because their panting is less effective when cooling down. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, take them to the vet immediately. Another summer safety tip for dogs is to keep your exercise sessions shorter.

Watch your dog for any signs of heat stroke, including:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

5. Protect your dog from summer pests

Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are all in peak season during the summer, and they each pose different health risks to our pets. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, check them for fleas and ticks regularly. It’s also important to never use insect repellents made for humans on your dog, as they are severely toxic and can cause neurological issues. Talk to your vet to find out the best flea and tick prevention.

Keeping your dog safe and healthy during summer requires extra vigilance. A pet insurance policy can offer added protection and help pay for emergencies, accidents, and other health needs. Learn more about how pet insurance works.

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