Photo by / Javier Brosch

Five Tips and Tricks for Keeping Pets Safe from the Summer Heat

This summer has been one of record-breaking temperatures worldwide, and it’s likely that 2023 will be the hottest year on record. With heightened temperatures come heightened risks of heat-related illnesses and injuries, including heatstroke, sunburn, and even burns from touching surfaces exposed to direct sunlight. Humans aren’t the only ones at risk of these issues this summer; your pets can also be negatively impacted by the heat. Read our tips below for how to keep your pet cool and safe during the dog days of summer.


1. Limit exercise and outdoor time during the day. Being out in high temperatures is just as exhausting for your pet as it is for you. Take your pet out when necessary, but try to limit walks and outside time to the tail ends of the day, when the heat won’t be as intense.


2. Never leave your pets in a parked car. In a matter of minutes, your car’s internal temperature can rise dangerously high, as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the first 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked. Try to plan any outings and trips so that there is someone who is able to stay with your pet, be it outside in the shade or in your air-conditioned car.


3. Avoid walking your pet on paved surfaces during the day. Asphalt and pavement can get extremely hot during the day, sometimes even hot enough to cook an egg on! Walking on these hot surfaces can cause your pet pain and discomfort, but also result in serious injuries such as burns to their paws. A quick trick to determine if the surface is too hot is to put your hand on it. If it becomes too hot to continue after 5–10 seconds, it’s definitely too hot for your pet to walk on for extended periods of time. Not to worry: there are several ways to keep your furry friend’s paws safe in the summer. Make sure your pets have a grassy area to stroll on if possible or take them for walks in the early morning and the evenings as the sun is rising and setting and temperatures are lower. You could even invest in a pair of booties to cover your pet’s paws, which will protect them like shoes protect our feet. You can find a pair for less than 15 dollars on Amazon!


4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keeping your pet hydrated is one of the most important steps in keeping them cool. Especially since they can’t sweat, having water in their system is how their bodies will regulate their temperature when it’s too hot outside. Make sure your pet always has water available at home, especially before and after walks, and if you’re going out with your pet, bring along a water bottle and bowl that you can pull out periodically for them to use. You can also add ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl so that their water is cool when they drink it.


5. Groom regularly. Keeping your pet groomed, especially by brushing excess hair out or taking them for haircuts, can reduce the amount of weight your pet is carrying and help keep it cooler. There’s a reason many pets shed a lot in the summer; walking around in the heat with an extra coat of fur on leads them to get hot faster. Make sure you establish a regular grooming schedule for your pet and consider going for shorter haircuts than you would in the winter if you take your pet to a groomer.


Of course, you know your pet better than anyone else. Even by following safety tips, there is still always the risk of heat-related illness or injury for your pet. Look out for signs of overheating or heatstroke — like panting, restlessness, drooling, red gums or tongue, increased heart rate, and vomiting or diarrhea — and if your pet seems to be exhibiting symptoms, make sure to consult with your vet.