Keep Pets Safe in High Heat

Summer is here in full swing and here in Maine, we’re experiencing a heat wave! Temperatures are estimated to climb to the mid 90s with high humidity and lots of haze. Temperatures this high can be hazardous for humans and pets alike, so it’s important to stay cool and stay alert. Learn how to keep pets safe in high heat so we can all have a carefree summer!

Practice basic summer safety.

The first step to keeping pets happy this summer is to practice basic heat safety. Never leave animals alone in a parked car, even for just a minute and even if air conditioning is running. Take care when walking dogs on pavement, cement, or bricks in the heat as they can burn paw pads. Try to keep walks to grass or gravel. Humidity can also amplify the negative effects of high temperatures, so watch for humidity levels or changes. Staying alert and keeping up with weather updates is important!

Limit exercise and outside time.

On very hot days, limit exercise and outside walks or playtime with your pet. Try to walk your dog during early morning or evening hours only when it’s cooler. Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise in accordance to temperatures and humidity levels. Take extra care with short-nosed dogs or pets with thick fur. If you do go out in the heat, bring lots of water and stick to shady areas. You may consider filling a kiddie pool with water, or setting a sprinkler up on the lawn for your pet to play with. Again, avoid asphalt and hot surfaces that may burn your pet’s feet!

Stay indoors and provide ample water.

If you have air conditioning, it’s best to stay inside as much as possible during extreme heat. Animals respond differently to hot weather and fans alone don’t always work to cool them down. Even when inside, make sure to provide ample amounts of cool water for your pet to drink. If you don’t happen to have air conditioning, keep windows and shades closed to keep the sunshine out. You can open windows again when the suns sets to let in the cool air. Also consider providing cooling pads or ice packs for your pet to lay on. Pet-friendly popsicles or frozen treats can also help!

Watch for signs of heatstroke.

Extreme weather can cause heatstroke in our pets, and it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. Look for:

  • Heavy Panting
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Uncoordination
  • Glassy Eyes
  • Bright Red Gums & Tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or Fainting

If you suspect heatstroke in your pet, immediately get them out of the sun and heat and into a cooler area. You can splash them with cool water or apply cold compresses to their face, belly, armpits, and feet. Then, call your veterinarian or local emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

We hope you and your furry friend stay safe, happy and cool this summer!