A Paws For Pets — Summer safety

By Susan Rodabaugh, York Adopt A Pet

Most of our pets love the summer. They love to lounge and collect those needed vitamins from the sun. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the sunshine and warmth come through a window or glass pane in your home or that extra time they like laying on your porch or the cool grass watching nature. Regardless there are several summer safety tips to follow this season.  Keeping them cool, safe and vaccinated helps them live their best life possible.

When keeping them cool there are several ways to aid them.  Always make sure your pet has cool, clean water available. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid heat injuries in the summer months. Dogs, and cats, drink more on hot days, and water warms up quickly, so make sure to change your pet’s water often. You can add a few ice cubes to the water.  Other ways to keep your pet cool is to keep a fan on in their favorite place they like to lay or sleep and/or add a cooling blanket to their spot. These allow their body temperature to stay normal and keep your pet from overheating.

Keep your pets safe from the heat by not allowing them in your car, leaving them outside without proper shelter and water and not walking them on hot pavement or concrete. Parking in the shade and leaving the windows open is not an option. Even if you are just running a quick errand, in a hot car your pet’s temperature can rise rapidly and they can overheat in a very short period of time. The car heat index chart is added below. In just minutes, your car will heat up very quickly and will be very dangerous and deadly for your pet. Signs of heat stress by being exposed to extreme temperatures include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness.

Outside Temperature10 Minutes30 minutes
70 degrees89 degrees104 degrees
75 degrees94 degrees109 degrees
80 degrees99 degrees114 degrees
85 degrees104 degrees119 degrees
90 degrees109 degrees124 degrees
95 degrees114 degrees129 degrees


The summer heat also causes your pets to get burns. In general, 70 degrees Fahrenheit usually is safe for all dogs. However, when the weather gets hot, it is important to keep your pets protected from sunburn and UV rays by applying sunscreen.  Protecting your pets’ paws by limiting their time outside, wear protective paw covers or simply avoid walking on pavement and concrete areas. An 86-degree day heats up the pavement to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is too hot for your own hands or feet, it will be too hot for your pet. Also, once your pet’s paws get too hot it will cause their body temperature to rise and can also cause heat stroke.  The signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness and death.

Summer is the season for fleas and ticks and heartworms. Fleas are parasites that can spread skin allergy, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can cause infection, abscesses, paralysis and death. Use a veterinarian recommended flea and tick treatment on your outdoor pets regularly during the warm and hot months. Also get your outdoor pets checked for heartworm disease.  This is transferred by mosquitoes and can cause respiratory damage and death to pets. Heartworm vaccine can be administered by your veterinarian.

In addition, some of our pets like to relax in the shade, cool grass areas, or on the decks. Be cautious of yellow jackets, bees, toads and snakes. Any bite or sting symptoms are usually swelling of the affected areas. Once stung or bitten, the pet’s skin may start to look wrinkly or bumpy. This is a first indicator and, if not treated by a veterinarian, could result in death due to toxins taking over and shutting down the animal’s body or causing air way swelling and suffocation.

Summer can be a fun time for your pet. However, it is your responsibility to keep your pet(s) safe from all the harmful summer elements. No pet owner wants to see their pet suffer from heat stress, burns, or parasites. Keep your pet safe and take the necessary precautions this season.

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