When temperatures rise, even healthy pets can experience dangerous conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. provides some simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating:
Know the Warning Signs
Overheating can be deadly for pets. You should be aware of the signs of heat stress, which could include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get him to a veterinarian immediately.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle – on a mild 73°F day, the temperature inside a car can reach 120°F in 30 minutes. On a 90°F day, the interior of a vehicle can reach 160°F in just a few minutes.
When the temperature is high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks to a minimum during these times, too.
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave a medium- or long-hair dog down to a one inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.
During warmer Northwest months, it’s tempting to leave windows and doors open. Animals can escape through open doors and cats can fall from open windows and be seriously injured. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure that all screen doors and adjustable window screens are tightly secured.
--Information provided by Homeward Pet via the ASPCA. c2010 ASPCA. All rights reserved. For more information, contact www.aspca.org or homewardpet.org.