Tips To Keep Pets Safe During Summer


Summer is here! It is important to remember that warmer seasons present significant dangers to our pets. By keeping a few simple tips in mind and using common sense, we can ensure that our pets enjoy a safe and happy summer season.

penelopeBurned Feet

Every summer, countless dogs are seen by veterinarians for severely burned feet. This often occurs when they are taken out for a run along city streets or sidewalks. To avoid this:

  • Do not exercise your pet during the hotter times of the day, and
  • Avoid areas where the sun has been shining on the ground all day.

If you notice that your dog’s pads are peeling, red, if they are reluctant to walk on them or are limping, or are obviously painful to the touch, run cool water on them and take your pet to your veterinarian for a checkup.

Heat Stroke

Did you know that dogs can only sweat from the pads of their feet? In fact the only way they are able to relieve excess heat is through panting, which is very inefficient. Dogs typically suffer from heat stroke when left in a car during the summer, when exercised too long outside, or are not provided with shade or enough water. If it’s too hot for you, it’s way too hot for your pet.

No matter how low you leave the windows, leaving a pet in a car during the summer is often a death sentence. The interior of a car can reach fatal temperatures in a matter of minutes. There is NO SAFE AMOUNT OF TIME FOR A PET TO BE LEFT ALONE IN A CAR during the spring or summer.

Each year veterinary clinics and emergency facilities see many dogs who have succumbed to heat stroke. While the temperature may feel comfortable to you, your pet is covered with fur and cannot sweat, even light exertion in hot and humid weather can lead to a marked increase in body heat.

In hot weather, it is best to keep your pet indoors. For times when your pet is outside, it is imperative that he or she has access to fresh water at all times as well as a shaded area where they can escape the heat of the sun.

Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, collapse, very hot breath and body to the touch, very dry gums, very red (“brick” red) gums and pronounced veins in the whites of their eyes. Dogs may also experience severe vomiting and/or diarrhea. If any of these signs are in evidence, cool your pet with LUKEWARM water, focusing the water on the neck, abdomen, and pads of their feet. And take your pet to a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

These are just a few tips to help you and your pet make it safely through the warm weather season. For more information on how you can safeguard your home, develop a pet first aid kit, and how to deal with the most common pet emergencies, please visit your family veterinarian.

Additional resources can be found online on the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association website at

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