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Hot weather will return: Be ready to help your pets stay cool

By Gary Bogue
Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at 7:20 am in Cats, dogs, Hot Cars, Hot Weather, Pets.


I suspect this heat wave isn’t over.

Here are some good hot weather tips so the weather won’t cause problems for you and your pets when it heats up again.

Water: Make sure your pets have a large supply of fresh, cool water available to them at all times. More than one dish of water is always a good idea so they will be easy to find when your pet gets thirsty. Remember — the sun moves — so please make sure water dishes stay out of the sun all day.

** Shade: Your indoor and outdoor pets need to have cool places to get away from the sun and heat. Hose down an area under the bushes so the dog will have a cool place to lie down. You can always give him/her a cool bath to clean off the mud later.

** Don’t leave pets in the car: An outside temperature of 85 degrees will raise the temperature in your car to 104 degrees within 10 minutes — even if you leave the windows slightly open. Within a half-hour, the temperature can reach 120 degrees. This serious heat can cause a pet or child to suffer brain damage, heatstroke, suffocation or kidney failure. It’s also against the law to leave your dog (or child!) in a hot car.

** Playtime and exercising: On very hot days, only play with or exercise your pet during cool early mornings or evenings. Keep dogs off of hot pavement or sidewalks. They can burn their foot pads. Keep walks to a minimum (or not at all) on very hot days.

** Older and overweight pets: Keep a special eye on these animals when it’s hot. They are more vulnerable to the affects of heat.

** Know your pet’s heat tolerance: Heat and humidity along with age, health, obesity and breed of pet will factor into the animal’s heat tolerance. Dogs and cats — whose body temperature is between 100 and 102.5 degrees F. — don’t do well in heat, especially if they get dehydrated. Cats sweat through their paws and will lick themselves to cool down, become inactive and seek cool places. However, in temperatures above 85 or 90 degrees they can get stressed. Dogs do not lose heat as fast as humans, so heat can quickly become a health risk.

** Short muzzled dogs: Bulldogs, mastiffs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus find it harder to breath on hot and humid days. Keep them where it’s cool.

** Throw away uneaten pet food: Bacteria grows faster when it is hot, so uneaten pet food should be thrown out. It may be appropriate to feed your pets more frequent and smaller portions during warm summer months. Check with your vet if you’re not sure.

** Identification: Pets are more active during the summer. They chase other animals, or can be with you and traveling in unfamiliar places … and end up getting lost. Your pet’s name and your phone number (your cell phone which is a fast way to reach you) should be on its collar. That can be a life saver.

** Groom your pet daily: Grooming your pet daily during warm summer months will help it stay cooler.

** Keep fish tanks away from sunlight: If sunlight shines on an aquarium it heats up the water and causes it to lose oxygen and the fish can “drown.”

** Keep pet birds away from sunlight: If caged birds are in the sun, they have no way to escape the heat. It could kill them.

** Domestic rabbits are sensitive to heat: It can kill them. A frozen one-liter plastic bottle of water in the cage can help keep them cool.

** SPEAKING OF WILDLIFE: Keep your hummingbird feeders OUT of the sun! You don’t want your backyard hummers to stick their beaks into boiling HOT nectar the next time they come to feed. It could scald those little flying flowers … and even kill them.

** HEAT STRESS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY: Heat stress signs in dogs and cats include heavy panting, glazed eyes, fast pulse, unsteady on feet, vomiting, and/or a deep red/purple tongue. If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, you can lower its body temp by pouring cool (not cold) water slowly over its body. Let the animal drink small amounts of cool (not cold) water.


Thanks for caring. /Gary

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No Responses to “Hot weather will return: Be ready to help your pets stay cool”

  1. Mike "troll" Dame Says:

    temperatures over 95f can also be bad for pet tarantulas who in nature would be deep in their burrows escaping the heat. signs to watch for with them are, hovering over/standing in their water dishes, excessive climbing and scraping/tearing at cage screens with their fangs, staggering or legs curling under/not being able to fully extend legs (very bad sign, spider need to be placed in shallow dish of water to rehydrate). some things that can help are soaking down a portion of their substrate to cause evaporate cooling, moving cages to floor where it is cooler (make sure its an ant free location) and/or misting misting misting allot of misting. as mentioned with birds and fish sunlight on a tank is bad and although i have never heard of it being tried but the frozen water bottle Gary mentions for rabbits may also work for tarantulas.
    last year during the big heatwave where temps (indoors) were over 105f for multiple days i ended up loosing a couple of my large tropical species and have since invested in a small AC for the room they are in

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