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How to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Summer Heat

Dan Brian   |  July 13, 2015   |  

Summer temperatures can get extremely hot here in North Carolina for people and their pets. Unless certain precautions are taken to keep your pet cool, the summer heat could cause your pet to become irritable due to discomfort, burn its paws on the hot ground, suffer heat exhaustion, get dehydrated or sustain other serious injuries or even die – a tragedy for the entire family that can be avoided.

At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, we understand the dangers pets face during the warm summer months. We also realize how important pets are to people, and know that most pet owners would do whatever it takes to keep their pets safe. We know this as we ourselves are pet-lovers. Our firm supports the SPCA of Wake County and Wayne County Humane Society, and we also volunteer with animal advocacy groups and even have our own firm mascot, Coconut Riddle. Coconut Riddle takes pride in welcoming clients and guests when he’s in the office. When he’s not, he’s updating his Facebook page or hanging out with friends.

In honor of Coconut Riddle and all of the other pets out there, here are five simple ways the Humane Society and ASPCA recommend you follow to help keep your pet safe in the summer heat:

  1. Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car

    Pets should never be left alone in a parked car. Even when temperatures are comfortable outside, the windows are rolled down, or the air conditioning is on, the temperature inside a parked car tends to rise very quickly, and could get so hot that your pet could suffer fatal heat stroke. The Humane Society states that when the outside temperature is 85, the temperature inside a car could go up as high as 102 degrees in around 10 minutes time and up to 120 degrees within half an hour.

  2. Limit Exposure on Hot Summer Days

    When the weather is expected to be hot, plan to take your pet outside during  the early morning hours and/or around dusk, as these are cooler times. Asphalt tends to get extremely hot in the summer sun; it can be hot enough to burn the pads on your pet’s paws. As most pets are relatively low to the ground, the heat coming off the asphalt, streets and sidewalks can heat up your pet’s body much faster than your own. To keep your pet safe, limit exposure on hot summer days.

  3. Make Sure to Give Your Pet Access to Shade and Water

    Pets must always have access to shade and water, particularly when the weather gets warm. Leaving your pet outside during the summer is never advised. Even if you provide a bowl of water, it may not be enough for the time you are gone. If your pet wants to be outside, make sure he or she can get inside to cool down and drink some water at will. Giving your pet ice cubes to suck on and a canopy to lie under can help minimize the risk of heat-related injuries.

  4. Go Moderate Instead of Extreme on Your Dog’s Summer Cut

    People often opt for shorter hair cuts during the summer. While this may seem like a good idea for your pet, it is not. Longer-haired pets can have their hair trimmed in summer, but pets should not be shaved or have their hair cut really thin. Animals’ coats help provide a layer of protection against the hot, summer sun. Without that protection, your pet could easily suffer a painful sunburn or overheat.

  5. Know and Watch for Signs of Heatstroke

    As long as you know and watch for the signs of heatstroke, you will be more equipped to get your pet the attention he or she may require. Excessive panting, glazed-over eyes, breathing problems, a rapid heartbeat, lethargy, fever, an inability to quench the thirst, dizziness and coordination difficulties are just a few of the potential signs of heatstroke among pets. Vomiting, seizures and unconsciousness are more serious symptoms which will require immediate attention from a vet.

If you believe your pet is suffering from a heat-related injury or illness, get your pet into a cooler area at once. Apply cool towels to help lower your pet’s temperature or external body heat. Offer ice cubes rather than a bowl or water, so that your pet doesn’t attempt to drink too fast, then immediately transport your pet to a veterinarian for treatment.