Vet Blog

Are You Doing Enough to Keep Your Pet Safe During the Summer?

July 20, 2017

We know how to stay cool on scorching summer days-either we stay in our air-conditioned homes, jump in the pool, or fetch ourselves a tall glass of ice water.

We also sweat, which is a more efficient cooling system than panting, which our pets must do to try and keep their body temperature down. However, if they don't have a generous supply of fresh cool water and plenty of shade to stay out of the sun, they could be in trouble. Our pets cannot handle the summer heat as well as we can, and are more susceptible to heatstroke.

Summer Hazards

Heat isn't the only thing you need to worry about. There are plenty of other pet safety hazards that pop up during the summer, and it's up to you to know what they are, and how to avoid them. Some of the most common hazards to consider include:

  • Excessive heat/sun
  • Parasites (fleas, ticks, mosquitoes)
  • Rabid wildlife
  • Hot asphalt
  • Hot vehicles
  • Fireworks
  • Swimming pools (drowning risk, chlorine harmful if consumed)
  • Foods like chocolate, grapes, onions, apple cores and stems, sugar-free gum
  • Pesticides, fertilizers, cleaning supplies

Summer Safety Tips

Whatever your plans happen to be this summer, always consider what you need to do to ensure that your pet is safe and healthy. Here are some tips to consider:

  • NEVER, under any circumstances, leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle-even if it's as low as 60 degrees outside, the temperature can rise to 80 degrees in about 10 minutes
  • Make sure they always have plenty of fresh, cool water nearby
  • Make sure they have access to air-conditioning, if possible (or a space with good air circulation)
  • Make sure they have a cool, shady place to rest outdoors
  • When you take them walking, do so either early in the morning or late in the evening, when the temperature is cooler and the sun is less direct
  • Keep your pet off hot asphalt and sidewalks, this hurts their paw pads and increases their body temperature
  • If you have a small wading pool, keep that out in the yard for your pet to use so they can stay cool
  • Keep potentially toxic foods and other substances out of your pet's reach
  • Make sure your pet doesn't attempt to drink water from a swimming pool; the chlorine can make them sick

Symptoms of Heatstroke in Pets

Heatstroke can occur in your pet over a very short period of time, and escalate quickly. That's why it's important to be able to recognize the signs of this condition, which include:

  • Labored breathing/panting
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Bright red gums and tongue or very pale gums
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, call us immediately at (317) 896-9993 or contact one of our emergency referral centers. Don't wait!