Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

As temperatures rise, so does the risk to our pets. Keeping them safe and comfortable during hot weather is essential for their safety. This blog offers valuable tips on how to protect your dogs and cats from the heat, ensuring they remain healthy throughout the season. If you have any concerns or need further advice, feel free to contact Levan Road Veterinary Hospital in Livonia, MI at (734) 464-6281.

Adorable American Cocker Spaniel sitting next to white tabletop fan on beige background

What are Some Signs of Heat Stress in Pets?

Pets can quickly become overheated since they don’t sweat the same way humans do. Recognizing the early signs of heat stress can save your pet from serious illness and discomfort. 

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Excessive Panting and Drooling: Unlike humans, pets pant to help cool themselves down. If your pet is panting excessively and drooling more than usual, it could be a sign of overheating.
  • Increased Heart Rate and Respiratory Distress: These symptoms can appear if your pet is struggling to cool down. Rapid breathing or a fast heartbeat are indicators of heat stress.
  • Lethargy or Weakness: If your pet seems unusually tired, uncoordinated, or less responsive, they may be experiencing heat exhaustion.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea: Heat stress can upset your pet’s stomach, leading to gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Bright Red Tongue or Pale Gums: A pet’s tongue and gums can give clues about their health. A bright red tongue or pale gums are signs of significant heat stress.
  • Collapse or Convulsions: In severe cases, pets may collapse or have convulsions due to overheating. This is an emergency and requires immediate care by a veterinarian. 

What to Do If Your Pet Shows Signs of Heat Stress

  • Move your pet to a shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Provide fresh, cool water to drink.
  • Apply cool water to your pet’s fur and skin.
  • Call your vet if symptoms persist or worsen.

Tips to Minimize Hot Weather Hazards

There are lots of things you can do at home to make hot weather less of a risk to your pet. 

Provide Adequate Hydration

Hydration is key to keeping your pet safe in hot weather, so always ensure they have access to fresh water. During walks or any outdoor activity, carry a portable water bowl.

Also, be sure to:

  • Place multiple water bowls around your home.
  • Consider adding ice cubes to the water on very hot days.
  • Offer wet food, which has higher moisture content, as a supplement to their diet.

Safe Outdoor Activities

While it’s great to enjoy the outdoors with your pet, high temperatures can make certain activities unsafe. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Walk your pet during cooler parts of the day, typically early morning or late evening.
  • Avoid hot surfaces, like asphalt, which can burn your pet’s paws. Try to walk them on the grass as much as possible. 
  • Consider protective gear like booties for paw protection.

Create a Cool Environment at Home

Keeping your home cool can help your pet tremendously during the hot months. Use fans, air conditioning, and keep blinds closed against the sun. Provide cooling mats or wet towels for your pet to lie on and allow access to cooler areas, such as tiled floors or basements.

Monitoring and Adjustments for At-Risk Pets

Some pets are more vulnerable to heat than others. This includes older pets, those with thick fur, and pets with certain health conditions.

  • Provide extra shade and water for these pets.
  • Limit exercise and monitor them closely for signs of heat stress.
  • Discuss any concerns with your vet to adjust their care plan as needed.

When to Call Your Vet

We are happy to help in any way you need during our opening hours. Call us if your pet shows signs of distress after exposure to heat, for advice on care adjustments, or any other questions you have about protecting your pet this summer season. Just call Levan Road Veterinary Hospital at (734) 464-6281 to speak with our team. We look forward to supporting you in keeping your pet healthy and making summer more enjoyable for them.