Summer's Heating Up!

Jun 22, 2013

Ooh, the grass feels so good on tender feet!
Credit Gareth Williams

A little planning and a little common sense - that's all it takes to keep your pet safe and healthy during the hot summertime!


Summer has officially started, although some parts of the country have already experienced summer-like weather, including warm, sunny – and in some places, humid - days. It seems like a good time to talk about keeping our pets safe in the summer heat.

If you have a pet that stays outdoors during the day, make sure it has a place to get out of the sun that stays shaded all day long. Clean, fresh water is a must for any pet, but for one that stays outside it’s critical to ensure your furry friend does not become dehydrated.

Speaking of furry, an animal’s coat can be hot but shaving it to the skin is not the best idea. Instead, keep your pet’s coat brushed regularly, to remove dead hair and allow air to circulate. A well-groomed coat can actually help to protect the animal from summer heat.

Exercise is good for both you and your pet, but if you decide to walk your dog the best time is probably in the morning before it gets too warm. Late afternoon or evening might be okay as long as you’re not walking on pavement. Surfaces like asphalt bake in the sun all day and retain the heat. On a sunny day when the air temperature is 85ºF, the temperature of asphalt has been measured at 135ºF. That’s hot enough to fry an egg, and to burn the pads on your pet’s feet. Here’s a quick test to see if the pavement is too hot for your dog. Press the back of your hand against the pavement or asphalt and hold it there for ten seconds. If it is uncomfortable for you, your pet shouldn’t have to walk on it.

No list of summer safety tips for pets would be complete without a caution about leaving your animal alone in a parked car, even for a few minutes, even with the windows cracked. Someone should remain in the car with your pet, or your pet should not remain in the car. No errand is important enough or short enough to risk your best friend’s life.

Summer can be a great time to be outdoors, but it’s up to you to keep your furry companion safe and healthy to enjoy all the other seasons, too, when you’re speaking of pets.