Warm weather can make travel more enjoyable and affords people more time to enjoy the great outdoors. However, it’s best to keep safety in mind when soaking up the sun. That’s important for all members of the family, including pets. Cats and dogs are as susceptible to heat-related illnesses as their human companions. Pets need extra care during the warm weather to avoid damage and sickness from the sun, heat and more.

Recognize heat stroke. Pets can suffer from heat stroke, and certain breeds of dogs are highly susceptible, particularly those with short snouts, such as pugs and bulldogs. Excessive exercise in hot weather, lack of appropriate shelter outdoors, and leaving a dog in a hot car may precipitate an episode of heat stroke. It’s essential to get the pet out of direct heat right away and check for signs of shock, including seizures, a body temperature of 104 F or higher, stupor, increased heart rate, or excessive panting. Placing water-soaked towels on the pet’s feet, head, neck, and abdomen can bring down its temperature. 

Be cautious of hot surfaces. Humans wear shoes on their feet for protection, but pets do not have that luxury. Think about how hot your feet can feel when you scurry barefoot across hot sand en route to the shoreline or to cross a deck to get to the pool. When the sun beats down on surfaces, those surface temperatures rise quickly. According to a study by Liberty Home and Pet Services, at peak afternoon sun and an ambient temperature of 95 F – the temperature of cement was measured at 125 F, red brick at 135 F, blacktop at 140 F, and grass at 102 F. Individuals who think a car is safer for their dog or cat may be surprised the study measured 152 F on seat surfaces. 

Provide extra water. You will likely need to fill your pets’ water bowls more frequently in warm weather than during other times of the year. Be sure to provide constant access to fresh water, even for young puppies who may be learning to house train.

Avoid cutting fur too short. If a veterinarian suggests a haircut may be beneficial for keeping a pet cool or comfortable, resist the urge to shave down to the skin. Having at least one inch of fur will protect the pet from sunburn.

Outdoor hazards. Warm weather may bring out a high number of insects and wildlife. Use a flea and tick preventative product and medication to protect against heartworm, which is transmitted through mosquitoes. Snakes, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and other animals may be roaming around, and a scuffle with your pet can result in injury.