Protect Your Pet from the Summer Heat

Dog playing water sprinkler

As summer approaches many of us are no doubt making plans to head to the beach or enjoy a nice barbeque under the simmering heat. But this “fun in the sun season” also happens to come with hazards for our pets.

To help you keep your pets safe from the summer heat, we have put together these important summer pet safety tips:

1. Adequate shade

Our pets should be able to move to a cooler place: shade, indoors, etc. Be mindful of pets that are locked up in runs or cages that end up in the sun. Make sure they can escape the heat when they choose to. It doesn’t take much for an animal to overheat – especially smaller species like birds and rabbits.

2. Multiple access to water

Make sure your pet has access to multiple water bowls or buckets around the house so that if one water bowl dries up or gets knocked over, your pet still has access to water when home alone.

If you’re taking your dog out for a walk in the bush or a run at the beach, make sure you stop at a drinking fountain for water or bring water for them along with a collapsible drinking bowl.

3. Never leave pets in hot cars

A cracked window, open sunroof, even parking in the shade on a hot day is not enough to prevent heatstroke in our pets.

Panting is a dog’s way to dump its excess heat out into the environment. But even on a mild, 20°C day, the inside of a car can be as warm as 37°C. On a hot 30°C day in mid-summer, your car can absorb so much heat that the temperature inside is as high as 60°C.

If the body temperature stays high for long enough, every organ and every tissue is affected. If the damage is too widespread, the pet will die.

Although cats are not as frequent car companions, all pets are at risk in hot cars. Brachycephalic or “short nosed” breeds (e.g. Pekinese, Bull dogs and Persian cats) are especially at risk. Since their noses and upper airways are so short, they can’t exchange heat the way dogs with longer snouts can.

Even if you’re leaving your pet in a running, air-conditioned car, be wary if the A/C malfunctions or if you’re delayed away from your car.

4. Sunscreen for Pets

Dogs and cats with pale skin or limited fur on their noses and ears are susceptible to sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer. This is another reason to ensure they’re out of the simmering hot sun during the middle of the day. Your vet may recommend a specialty sunscreen for your pet to protect them in the warmer months when the UV rays are at their strongest.

5. Beware of hot surfaces

Those of us who like to walk barefoot in summer know how hot concrete can get! If you’re walking your dog on a hot day, take care of burning hot surfaces and always try to walk them on grass rather than concrete.

Also, be careful transporting dogs on ute trays in summer because the tray surface can get very hot and burn their feet.

Our pets really are completely reliant on us for their safety and protection. That’s why it’s so important to adapt your pet parenting techniques for summer. Feel free to reach out to us at Vetlife if you have any questions for us!