Keep Your Pets Safe This Summer: Essential Tips for Warm Weather Care

Summer is here – a time when many of us enjoy being outdoors enjoying the sun and warm breezes, with our pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, or other furry companion, it’s important to take precautions to keep them safe in the heat.

First and foremost, ensure your pet is healthy by visiting the veterinarian. Healthy pets are better equipped to handle the heat. Make sure they are protected against fleas, ticks, and heartworms, which are more prevalent in warm weather. Be sure they are on preventatives for fleas, ticks, and heartworms, which are more common in warm weather. Pets with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are more prone to heatstroke because they can’t always pant effectively to control their body temperature. Older dogs, puppies, and those with thick fur coats are also more sensitive to heat.

While many enjoy being outdoors when it’s warmer, but it’s important to prevent overheating. Limit your activity to the coolest parts of the day, like early mornings or evenings, and avoid strenuous activities like running. Try to avoid walking on asphalt, which can get hot enough to burn your pet’s paws. Always be sure your pet has plenty of fresh water and change the water frequently. Most pets won’t drink hot water, no matter how thirsty they are.

Speaking of outdoor activities, many people apply fertilizer and other chemicals to their lawns this time of year. Watch your pet during walks to ensure they don’t lick any chemical residue on the grass. If you treat your own lawn and garden, follow the product’s label instructions for use with pets. Use pet-safe products if possible, and if you use a lawn service, make sure they know you have pets that go outside. Some plants are toxic to pets, so be aware of what you plant in your garden, especially if your pet spends time in the yard. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( has a list of plants that are safe for pets.

When it comes to car rides, it’s best to leave your pets at home during hot weather. You’ve probably seen warnings about how dangerous it is to leave your pets in the car in warm weather. Even if you leave the windows open, the temperature in your car can rise to 102° within 10 minutes! This can cause serious problems, including organ damage and death. It is also illegal in many states, including Rhode Island. If you notice a dog left in a car under dangerous conditions, try to locate the owner and call the authorities if necessary.

Pets like cooling off in water as much as their people do, but they need supervision for their water activities. Never leave your pet unattended around any body of water, whether it is a pool, lake, or beach. If your pet is new to swimming, have them wear a flotation device until they get used to the water. If you take your pet boating, they should always wear a flotation device when on the boat, even if they are experienced swimmers. Make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh drinking water to avoid the temptation to drink lake or beach water. Always rinse your pet off after swimming to remove any chlorine or salt. Keep an eye out for algae, especially blue-green algae, which can be toxic.

Another summer concern is fireworks. Most pets, especially dogs, don’t like fireworks. Never take your pet to a fireworks display. Keep your pets in a quiet area indoors and ensure they can’t get out. Many pets try to escape the noise by running outside. If your pet is severely anxious, talk to your veterinarian about other ways to help them.

With hot days in New England, it’s essential to be mindful of the risks that extreme temperatures pose to your pets. Heat strokes in dogs can occur quickly, and it’s crucial to intervene at the first sign of overheating.

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs:

  • Heavy, uncontrollable panting, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst
  • Foaming from the mouth
  • Lethargy or agitation
  • Thick saliva, drooling, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness, unsteadiness
  • Bright red, blue, or gray tongue/gums
  • Racing heart
  • Glassy eyes

If you suspect your pet is showing signs of heatstroke, take them to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

Hopefully, you and your pet will have a happy and safe summer. Always be aware of the signs of overheating and how to treat it. The most common signs are loud, rapid breathing, weakness, vomiting, agitation, and extreme thirst. If you see these signs in your pet, take them to a cool area immediately and apply cool towels to their head, neck, and chest. Even if they seem stable, have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

With these tips, you and your pets can enjoy a safe and happy summer together!

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