Is it Too Hot for Your Pet? Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke in Pets

by on June 22nd, 2010 at 7:00 am

Summer is here again, and it’s time for you to make sure your furry friend won’t get overheated. Animals tend to get easily overheated, especially if you own a long-haired pet.

In the summer heat, safety is key, particularly if you run errands and have a habit of leaving your pet in the car or even when your pet plays by themselves in the backyard.

Deadly Mid-day Errand Run

Many pet-related deaths happen in the summer time, but many of them are preventable. The statistics of deadly heat strokes happening in hot cars is unfathomable to many people, yet the danger is real: in just thirty minutes, your car can go from 85 degrees to 120 degrees, even with the windows cracked.

Researchers have found that precautions often thought to be safe, such as cracking a window or running the air conditioner prior to parking the car, were found to be inadequate because of the mass of air trapped under glass. The sun warms the air in a car under the glass much like it warms a greenhouse in winter.

Sometimes the weather forecast is a bit elusive and it’s hard to determine whether or not you can leave Fido or Fluffy in the car- that’s why the good people at created a “Is it too hot” page.  This handy section allows you to put in your zip code, the temperature for the day will pop up, and a warning message will let you know it may be hot for your furry pal to be left in a car.

Backyard Time Out

Many people send their pets outside while a thorough housecleaning is taking place, company is coming over, or they just think they need some exercise.  However, in the summer, this could be a big mistake. With a lack of water and ample shade, this is yet another way your pet can suffer from heat stroke.

When the in town in-laws or housecleaning can’t be vetoed, there are other ways to handle your pet instead of sending them outside into the blistering sun.  Pick a room in your house that your pet can stay in until things get situated, or if your house isn’t large enough, send him/her on a play date to a friends house or even to the groomers. When your pet gets back, the guests will have had time to settle-in and the house is spick and span from pet-less cleaning.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe

The fact of the matter is this, when it comes to our pets, we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure their safety. Unlike humans, animals can’t tell us when they are getting too hot, so it’s up to us to determine that.

Be especially cautious if you have a breed prone to being extra sensitive to heat exposure, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and other short-faced breeds. They are more likely to display symptoms of overheating faster, such as rapid breathing.

Below are the signs and symptoms of a heat stroke. If you sense your pet is exhibiting any of these behaviors take him or her to your local emergency vet.

Heat Stroke Signs and Symptoms:

  • Panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid pulse
  • Unsteadiness
  • Staggering gait
  • Vomiting
  • Deep red or purple tongue.

2 Responses to “Is it Too Hot for Your Pet? Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke in Pets”

  1. Marcus

    Jul 6th, 2010

    Thanks for informative piece on the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars and for mentioning! Every year around the country, dogs die after being locked inside cars while their owners shop or run other errands. These tragic deaths are entirely preventable.

    United Animal Nations (UAN) operates the My Dog is Cool Campaign to let people know that leaving a dog in a car for even “just a few minutes” may be too long. People who want to learn more about this issue, and educate others, can find downloadable fliers and brochures on our Web site:

    Once again, thanks!

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