4 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Heat
1 – Never, ever leave your pet alone in a parked car on a warm day. Not even for a minute. On a warm day, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise quickly into the danger zone. For example, on an 85-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for the temperature inside your parked car to climb to 102 degrees. In a half hour, it can hit 120 degrees. Leaving windows cracked doesn’t drop the temperature inside the vehicle. Leaving your car running with the air conditioner on is dangerous for a whole host of reasons.
Leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle in extreme heat or cold is a criminal act in several states and municipalities. Most statutes have rescue provisions that allow certain individuals – for example police officers, firefighters, animal control officers, store employees — to do whatever is necessary to rescue an animal trapped in a vehicle in extreme temperatures.
On summer days, it’s best to leave your pet home where she can stay cool, hydrated, and safe.
2 – Don’t walk or exercise your pet on hot pavement. This can be a tricky one to remember (unless you’re in the habit of walking your dog barefoot), but it’s extremely important. Not only can pavement on a hot day burn your dog’s paws, but the heat rising from concrete or asphalt can quickly overheat an animal that lives close to the ground. Also don’t allow your pet to stand, walk or rest on hot outdoor surfaces like sidewalks or parking lots.
3 – Exercise your dog during the coolest parts of the day. In most locations, this means early in the morning or after sunset. Try to stay in the shade during daylight hours, and no matter the time of day, don’t overdo outdoor exercise or play sessions. Even on an overcast day or in the evening, a long period of physical exertion in hot weather can cause heatstroke in your dog.
A good rule of thumb is if outdoor temps hit 90 degrees, your pet should be indoors where it’s cool.
4 – Provide plenty of fresh clean drinking water at all times. In addition to overheating, your pet can become dehydrated very rapidly in warm weather. A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. And if she’ll be outside for any length of time, she should have access to complete shade. Periodically encourage her to play in the sprinkler or gently hose her down with cool water to prevent overheating.