Pet Safe Summer: How to Prevent Your Dog or Cat from Overheating

happy dog with owner outside

Do you know how to keep your pet safe when the weather heats up? Like most people, you’re likely careful to never leave pets in vehicles when it’s hot outside. But there’s more to know when it comes to keeping pets cool, comfortable, and out of danger.

Dogs are generally at highest risk. When it’s hot, cats prefer to chill. Your dog, on the other hand, will try to go for a run or play fetch no matter the temperature. That means you must avoid hazardous situations and know what to do if your pet overheats. Read on to find out how to prevent pet overheating, common symptoms and how you can cool a pet down.

3 ways to prevent dogs and cats from overheating

1. Keep the most at-risk pets inside and keep the air conditioning on for them

Older pets as well as kittens or puppies don’t handle weather extremes as well as healthy adult pets. In addition, dogs or cats of breeds known as “brachycephalic” – short-nosed pets such as bulldogs, pugs or Persian cats – have a greater difficulty keeping themselves from overheating. These high-risk pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, and any outings should be short – potty runs only.

2. Exercise your dog during cooler parts of the day

While short-nosed pets should be kept inside where it’s cool, other pets can enjoy supervised outdoor time early mornings or late in the day. Walks are good for both dogs and people, and you don’t have to skip them, just time them better. One rule of thumb: Put your hand on the sidewalk, and if it’s too hot to leave it there, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.

3. Always have enough water

Whatever your summer activities, make sure there’s plenty of cool, fresh water available for your pets. When you’re out and about, take water with you and don’t let pets drink from pools, standing water or oceans. There are handy devices you can buy from pet product retailers to make it easy to bring water along. Products that have flip-down cups or nozzles mean you don’t have to carry a bowl with you.

How to tell if your pet is overheating

Just as important as keeping pets out of heat danger is knowing what to do if a pet overheats.

Dog overheating symptoms

The signs in dogs – the most likely victims — are rapid, even frantic panting, very red gums, and a glassy look to their eyes.

Cat overheating symptoms

Cats will have similar overheating symptoms as dogs, including panting, rapid heartbeat, dark red gums, hyperventilation and restlessness as the cat tries to find a cooler spot.

How to cool down an overheating pet

An overheated dog or cat is in a life-threatening situation. Apply cool water- not icy cold, and not ice – to the groin area and get your pet to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital right away.

Coverage if your pet overheats

It doesn’t take much to keep your pets safe in the summer. Knowing how to protect your pet will allow you both to enjoy the warm summer days. In addition, the right pet insurance coverage can help keep your dog or cat protected if they need a trip to the vet.

To help keep your pet out of harm’s way, make sure you know these 20 common foods that can be dangerous for dogs and cats.