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Summer Cat and Dog Safety Tips

Keep your pets comfy, cool and safe when the weather gets warm! Summer's here, and that means there are some important things to think about when it comes to your pets. Warm weather can be dangerous for our pets. It's hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and that's because animals don't sweat like people do. You probably knew that dogs cool themselves through panting, but did you know that they sweat through their paws too? When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it's a lot harder for that dog to keep cool.

  1. Never, ever, EVER leave your pet in a hot car. It can take minutes - yes, MINUTES - for a pet to develop heat stroke, suffocate and die in a car. Most people don't realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your pet home on warm days. If you're driving around with your dog or cat in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your pet with you when you leave the car.
  2. Keep the paws in mind. When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating.
  3. Don't drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck - not only is it extremely dangerous (they can fall out or be injured or killed in an accident), but the hot metal can burn paws quickly.
  4. Water and shade. Do your best to keep your furry friend cool and comfortable when you're out and about. If you and your pet are out in the sun for an extended period of time, make sure there's plenty of shade and water available to avoid dehydration.
  5. Haircuts. If you have a pet with a thick coat, consider a haircut! One inch is a good length to avoid sunburn (yes, pets can get sunburns too!) and also keep your pet cool.
  6. This one's for the cats: keep your windows screened! We all know cats love windowsills. You may want your house to be ventilated, but you definitely do not want your kitty to fall out!
  7. Stay safe at barbeques. Backyard barbeques are a lot of fun, but the food and drinks offered can be bad for pets. Keep your pets away from alcohol and foods like grapes, onions, and chocolate.
  8. Keep your pets away from fireworks. The dangers are obvious - pets are at risk for fatal injuries and painful burns if they are allowed to run around freely when fireworks are being used. Some fireworks also contain chemicals toxic to pets like potassium nitrate and arsenic. Not to mention, the loud noises can be frightening and disturbing to pets (remember, their hearing is many times better than ours). **See below for more 4th of July safety tips.

And perhaps most important, pay attention to your dog and cat - you'll know when they seem uncomfortable or like they might be in some trouble. Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog or cat, but it's important to keep these tips in mind as the days grow longer!


Summer Cat


  1. Provide Plenty of Water
    Cats aren't the best water drinkers, but like us, they need to stay hydrated - especially in hot weather. It is therefore vital that you provide additional sources of water and regularly fill them with water. If your cat frequently feeds on dry food, then access to water becomes paramount since they won't be getting any fluids from their diet.
    TIP: Make sure the water bowls are placed in shaded areas, away from the sun. This prevents the water from heating up and evaporating in the heat. Also, use narrow, deep bowls opposed to wide, shallow bowls.
  2. Use Ice in Their Water Bowls
    Cats minimally sweat, meaning that their sweat isn't enough to cool them down when it is scorching hot. Even worse, cold tap water may not be enough to cool them down as it quickly heats up once poured it into the bowl. Putting some ice cubes into their water bowl cools down the water and may encourage them to drink more liquid.
    TIP: If you'll be away for more than a few hours, drop several ice cubes into kitty's water bowl before you head out. If you're leaving for the day, leave a frozen bowl of water outside. It will gradually melt and provide cold water later on in the day.
  3. Provide Some Shade and Cool Damp Ground
    It's perfectly normal to find cats sleeping or relaxing outside during the day. But if it becomes too hot, you need to provide some shade. Relocate their outdoor houses under trees or near a building. Alternatively, put some damp towels above their houses to help disperse excess heat or place cold, damp towels inside their shelters so they can lay on them. Hose down the ground underneath bushes for cool damp shady areas.
  4. Invest in an Insulated or Elevated Cat House
    An insulated cat house not only helps your cat stay cool in the summer but warm in the winter. It provides an escape in case of extreme heat or cold. Better yet, if elevated, it allows for air passage both under and over the house, which helps to keep your cat cool.
  5. Invest in Cooling Pads or Mats
    Cooling pads and mats are a great way to provide extra relief from the scorching sun. However, pick a product made of non-toxic gel material in case your kitty pokes a hole, and tries ingest the gel. Pads with scratch and chew resistant features would be better suited for destructive cats.

Spotting Heatstroke in Your Cat Commonly known as hyperthermia, heatstroke is a severe medical condition that causes failure of a cat's internal organs due to high body temperature triggered by high temperatures and humidity.

The symptoms associated with heatstroke in cats can include: rapid panting or breathing, drooling, vomiting, anxiety, dizziness, lethargy, yowling and many more. Should you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your vet immediately for advice.

Even if your cat can take care of themselves, oppressive heat can hinder their outdoor activity or worse lead to medical conditions. Luckily, incorporating even a few of the tips and tricks mentioned above will go a long way in helping your cat get through the hot summer.


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