Tips from the Kentucky Humane Society's Free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET
“Often, pet owners forget that extreme heat can be potentially fatal to their loyal companions. It’s important for pet owners to be educated on how to keep their pets safe from summer heat,” says Shelby Schulz with the Pet Help Line. Based in Louisville, KHS is the state’s largest pet adoption agency.
Every year, companion animals suffer and die when their owners leave them in a parked car while they run errands. Temperatures inside cars can quickly rise 20 to 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature, and animals can die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes.
“If you see an animal in danger in a hot car, call 9-1-1 immediately,” says Schulz.
How else can pet owners protect pets from the scorching weather? Here are a few tips to keep pets safe, healthy and happy during the hot summer season.
- NEVER leave pets in hot cars. Leaving pets in hot vehicles can cause severe dehydration and even death within minutes. Instead, keep your pets at home here they are safe and comfortable.
- Keeps pets indoors during extreme heat. High temperatures can be dangerous, particularly to brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breeds, such as pugs, boxers and bull dogs.
- Make sure pets have access to shade and fresh water. As much as pets may like to play outside, it’s very easy for them to get dehydrated or overheated.
- Hiking with your dog? Carry water! Many pet parents don't realize how uncomfortable their dogs can get when exercising outside. Bring plenty of water, and consider leaving your dog at home.
- Be careful of asphalt. Asphalt or metal surfaces can get extremely hot in the summer and can burn paws and reflect heat back on your pet. Pet owners can help avoid burns by choosing other surfaces to walk on or by walking their pets in the morning or evening. Test the surface by placing your hand just above the ground.
- Just like humans, some dogs and cats get sunburn. If you’re considering shaving your pet this summer, make sure to leave at least an inch of hair. This will help protect your pet from the sun’s dangerous rays. Animals with short, light-colored coats can get sunburned. Veterinarians can recommend appropriate sunscreens for pets.
- Provide “kiddie pools” or sprinklers. Some dogs love to swim, just like humans. Kiddie pools or sprinklers will keep them safe from drowning and will also provide refreshing, fun activities to their day.
- Know the signs of a heat stroke. Pet owners should be educated on the symptoms of a heat stroke so they can react immediately if their pets exhibit symptoms. Symptoms include restlessness, panting, increased respiratory and heart rates, excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.
For more advice on pet-related questions, call KHS’ free Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET or visit www.kyhumane.org/help. The Pet Help Line is funded by grants from Banfield Foundation and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA).