ASPCA Urges Pet Owners to Take Precautions During Heat Wave

Basic knowledge can help keep pets safe in extreme weather
July 19, 2019

NEW YORK - With a major heat wave hitting most of the United States this weekend, the ASPCA is warning pet owners that warm weather conditions can be dangerous for pets too. Below are the ASPCA’s top safety tips pet owners should keep in mind as the temperatures rise!

“With temperatures expected to reach over 100 degrees in many parts of the country, the ASPCA encourages pet owners to prepare their pets for this heat wave as well,” says Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Medical Director at the ASPCA. “We urge pet owners to keep all walks to a minimum, provide a shady spot out of the sun for their pet to rest and learn to spot the signs of overheating. Overheating is a serious condition for pets that could require immediate veterinary care but with some simple precautions can be avoided.”  

To help prevent warm weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please read the following advice from our experts:

  • Keep your pet well hydrated – Pets can get dehydrated quickly so it is important to make sure they always have fresh, clean water, a shady spot to get out of the sun, and access to a cool indoor area when the weather is too hot.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets – It’s vital to your pet’s health to spot the signs that your pet is overheated. Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Severe symptoms can include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. If you think your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local veterinarian.
  • Never leave your pet in the car – A car can overheat even when the window has been left cracked an inch or two. The temperature inside your parked car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the temperature outside. Not only can it lead to a fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in many states.
  • Check the temperature of asphalt during walks – It’s extremely important to protect our dog’s paw pads during warm summer months. Asphalt and concrete temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels and leave burns on our pets extremely sensitive paw pads. For example, the outside air temperature can be 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but the asphalt temperature can be 125 degrees Fahrenheit. With high temperatures, dogs who are lower to the ground will also heat up quickly, putting them at risk for heat stroke. Keep walks short and protect their paws if needed.
  • Know how to groom your pet – Trimming down long hair on pets in the summer months is fine, but never fully shave your dog. The layers of dog’s coat protect him from overheating and sunburn. Be sure to brush your pets regularly and only use sunscreen products made specifically for pets.

Check out more tips and the ASPCA’s warm weather pet care infographic here.

Full infographics available for media use upon request.