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Hot Weather Tips 

The HSUS Advises Pet Owners to Keep Pets Cool during Heat Wave
June 9, 2008

As much of the Eastern seaboard labors through record breaking temperatures, with cities as far north as Montreal experiencing 90 degrees or above, The Humane Society of the United States offers reminders for pet owners to protect their pets during summer heatwaves:

  • Never leave your pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
  • Shade and water are a must. Anytime your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun (a doghouse does not provide relief from heat) and plenty of fresh, cool water. Heat stroke can be fatal for pets as well as people.
  • Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.
  • Recognize the signs of heatstroke. In case of an emergency, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some signs of heatstroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness. If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps immediately to gradually lower her body temperature and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Follow these tips, and it could save her life:
    • Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
    • Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her.
    • Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
    • Take her directly to a veterinarian.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at

More information:

Dogs in the Yard
If the dog must be kept in the yard during the hot parts of the day in the summer it is absolutely essential that there be a dark, shady place where the dog can escape from the blazing sun. Make sure there is a good source of ventilation (moving air). A tree may not be good enough. A ventilated dog house, or a pen with shade cover, or a covered patio is a must. Make sure that there is adequate shade at all times of the day that the dog is outside.

Dogs and Water
If the dog is outside, make certain that there is a good supply of clean water in a weighted dish (or two in different locations in case one gets knocked over anyway).

Dehydration can occur with dogs just like with humans.  Your dog gets rid of heat through panting, or through the pads of its feet. Also - if you leave water in a bowl, consider a spill proof bowl.

Keeping Dogs Cool
Some dogs enjoy water and can keep cool if a misting system is left on during the day, or if there's a kiddy wading pool for them with a couple of inches of water in it where they can sit to cool off. Keep these in the shade, too. Sitting in a tub of 110 degree water won't help the dog. Some people I know say that they provide a sandbox with damp sand for the dog. Digging must be allowed in the sandbox--you'll only frustrate a dog with a sandbox where digging is not permitted!

Avoid exercise in the warmest part of the day.  Early morning or evenings are the best time.  Limit the time according to the temperature. 

Never leave a dog in a parked car.  The temperatures can reach over 150 F (66 C).  Heat stroke, or death can result.  It is a common error to believe that leaving a window partly open will eliminate problems with heat. 

Other travel may require special precautions.  If flying, make sure your flight is direct.  Dogs have been injured by being held in baggage compartments on hot runways (sometimes with ventilation cut off while the plane is parked). 

If traveling in a car, make sure you are prepared with ample water (and an occasional break for potty and exercise).  Watch out for your dog's safety, allowing them to stick their head out the window (wind, dust and particles blowing in their face) can result in eye or nose damage or even swallowing something that may block their windpipe.  Also, remember that your dog can get injured in car accidents just like a human.  Most experts suggest having them ride in a crate or using a dog body harness.  Never let them ride in the open back area of a truck 

If you leave your pet at home, make sure someone is there to supervise him and provide him with his needs.  Consider using day pet care, or boarding kennel for longer trips.  Outside might not be a good idea if left alone - not only is hot weather a concern, but also summer storms can be dangerous or cause anxiety.

If you suspect heat stroke, you should seek veterinary assistance immediately.  But you should first cool the dog by using cold water, either with towels soaked in cool (not cold) water, using a hose, or even a cool bath.  Make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Ice packs or cool towels can be applied to the dogs chest, neck and head areas (only). you can give them sips of cool water or a few licks on ice cubes. A trip to the vet could save your dog's life.

Avoid walking or leaving your dog on hot surfaces such as sidewalks, asphalt or sand.  These surfaces get very hot and can burn the paws. 

Not all dogs are swimmers - make sure you supervise your dog if near a lake.  Also remember that your dog may drink dirty water and become ill from parasites or other undesirable contaminants.  Drinking sea water (salt water) can be deadly in quantity. Some lakes and most pools are treated with chemicals - this is not a good place to get a quick drink.

Dogs in the Pool
If your dog has access to your swimming pool or spa, make sure the dog is trained to get out of the pool. The dog needs to know how to get to the steps. If there are no steps or shallow areas, like in some lap pools, make sure the pool is fenced and locked so the dog can't get in. Every year puppies and dogs drown in backyard pools because they could jump in, but they couldn't get out.

Dogs can get sunburn just like humans.  Use sunscreen,  There are products available for dogs, but a good hypoallergenic product can be used on noses and other exposed areas.  You may also wish to consider products for the coat which protect from harmful UV exposure (and they will prevent damage to the coat as well). 

Summer is the season for insects.  Protect against fleas, ticks and heartworm.  Consult your veterinarian for recommendations in your area. 

Warm weather also brings on allergies from pollen, grass weeds and fleas, etc.   If your dog is chewing on himself, consult with a veterinarian. 

Careful of what dogs might drink - antifreeze can poison your dog and a little puddle might be tempting to drink (it tastes sweet and seems to attract dogs)

Use common sense. 

The Animal Rescue Site

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They will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of their heart.

You owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion." author unknown



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