How to keep pets safe in the summer heat

When temperatures reach over 100 degrees, pet owners should remember: the heat can be just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans.

Austin Pets Alive! shared some tips to keep your dog safe:

  • Check the pavement before going on a walk. Place your hand on it for 10 full seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Know the signs – lagging is the number one sign that your dog is too hot.
  • Water, water, water! Let your pet go for a swim in cool water and make sure they are staying hydrated. Getting your pet wet is the best way to speed up the cooling process.
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s tongue and eyes. Red eyes and a tongue hanging very far out of a dog’s mouth is an indication that they are overheating.
  • Limit outdoor activity. Take short walks in shaded areas or consider taking an evening stroll.
  • Do NOT leave your pet in the car, not even for a short period of time.

There are other summer heat tips that are less commonly talked about, but APA! says they are just as important.

  • Supervise your pet in the pool. To avoid a dangerous situation, consider fencing off or covering your pool for when you aren’t home. 
  • Avoid cutting their hair too short. Their fur helps combat sunburns and regulate body temperature. Pet sunscreen can also help.

It's important to remember that dogs only sweat through their mouth, feet, and ears, which is why they suffer from heat exhaustion faster than humans. So, even though you may be tolerating the heat, your dog may be suffering.

APA! is also reminding pet owners that cat heat safety is often overlooked, but there are ways to ensure indoor and outdoor cats are safe in the heat. APA! shared some tips and proactive measures cat owners can take to look out for their cats:

  • Groom and brush cats daily. Excess fur can catch heat
  • Pull shades down at home. Cats typically like to sit on window sills
  • Invest in cooling pads or mats to help cool them down, if needed
  • Consider feeding cats dry food; it does not dry out or attract insects like wet food
  • Give the cats plenty of extra water to compensate for the higher temperatures
  • Use deep bowls that reduce evaporation more than shallow bowls
  • Refill water bowls consistently 
  • Place water bowls in shaded areas out of direct sunlight for outdoor cats
  • Leave treats/food in shaded areas to encourage outdoor cats to relax
  • Never leave your cat unattended in a hot, parked car, cars can reach extreme temperatures in minutes

Creating a safe, cool environment for cats can promote their physical and mental health, says APA!