After a long winter of snow and ice, people and their pets look forward to hot summer days. Whether you spend your time in the backyard having a simple barbecue or head out to the beach for some fun in the sand, it is essential to make sure that everyone stays safe from the sun and heat. Pets can quickly get into danger if the temperatures get too high. Unfortunately, most pet owners don’t know that animals do not cool down in the same way that we do. A cool fan might feel nice, but it won’t cool your cat or dog down the way that air conditioning and hydration can do. As the temperature continues to rise, these summer pet tips can help you to keep your pets safe. If you are ever concerned or require urgent vet care for cats and dogs, make sure to contact your local Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet or contact our Dartmouth animal hospital to consult with a professional.

How Hot is Too Hot?

Veterinary experts agree temperatures above 80 degrees can quickly become dangerous for pets who do not have a way to cool off effectively. A dog house might provide shade, but the heat inside of it can reach more than 120 degrees in a matter of minutes. That being said, there are many breeds of cats and dogs that cannot handle any high heat or humidity, in particular those with short snouts like Persians and French Bulldogs. Never bring your pet with you to run errands. Even leaving a pet inside a car for a moment can be dangerous. Some pet owners leave the vehicle running with the air conditioning on, but that can also spell trouble if the pet kicks the car into gear or accidentally rolls down a window and escapes.

On an 85-degree day, a locked car can get as high as 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature could be well over 120 degrees, which can result in heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other dangerous conditions for both pets and people. Make it your policy never to bring a pet along if you need to get out of the car for any reason. If you are bringing your pet on a trip, taking them to our Dartmouth animal hospital for a check-up or any other purpose, make sure they are never left alone in the vehicle – not even for a minute. Pets can quickly succumb to heat and humidity, experiencing irreversible organ damage or even death. If you see a pet left inside a hot car, make sure to call for help or take action. Check your local laws to find out what you can do to help so you can be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Stay Indoors Whenever Possible

On hot days, make sure to limit the amount of time that your pet spends outdoors. Limit exercise – even indoors – to give them a chance to stay cool. UV rays can be just as damaging to sensitive pet skin as it can be to humans. This is especially true for pets that have light-colored skin and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. The asphalt gets extremely hot and can burn sensitive paws. If you must take your dog out and cannot carry them, keep them on the grass and bring along water to keep them from dehydrating. Never leave dogs outdoors in a pet run or backyard during the day in the summer months. Let them out to do their business and encourage them to come back inside. If it is too hot for you, chances are it is way too hot for them.

Shade and water indoors are also important. Make sure that your pet is not kept in a room that gets too much direct sunlight. Add ice to their water during a heatwave and consider putting a tarp or some other covering over windows to reflect the heat indoors. Run the air conditioning whenever temperatures get over 80 degrees, especially if you have a senior pet or any other pet that is considered to be at risk. Speak with your local veterinarian to find out more summer pet tips that you can use to provide safe at-home vet care for cats and dogs. Schedule annual check-ups and bring your pet into a local Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet whenever you suspect that they may be sick or injured. You can also always call our team at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth if you have questions about veterinary services or need help keeping your pet safe in the summer. Call our team at 508-996-3731 or use our online contact options to reach out to a veterinary staff member.