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Keeping Your Pet Safe on Hot Days

Written by Arturo Knight


Posted on September 18 2020

Even though summer is wrapping up on the calendar, we can still get major heat waves with Santa Ana winds in southern California.

We, as local meteorologists, often talk about tips to help people sensitive to heat stay cool, comfortable, and safe. 

What about your furry friends? Let's take a look at what we can do to make heat waves a little more bearable.

What You Need To Know

    • Never leave pets in the car on warm and sunny days

    • Leave plenty of water

    • Exercise your pets early or late when it's cooler

  • Look for signs of heatstroke

First, you may think pets, especially those with thick coats, need a lot of help staying cool when outside temperatures get hot. Perhaps you thought it would be a great idea to shave your pet’s fur, and that would help your sidekick keep cool.

That is not true. Your pet’s coat works as an insulator. The fur protects them from the heat just as it would help them stay warm when it is cold outside. So, don’t shave your pet.

Dogs love their walks. So, the tip here is to take your dog out early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.

If you have to take Fido out during the peak heat of the day, avoid dark surfaces like asphalt or sand. Remind yourself how hot it is for you to walk across asphalt or dry sand at SoCal beaches…it’s hot!

If your dog is easy-going and will stand for it, put some booties on him.

Your pets will drink more water than normal. So, put out an extra bowl, and keep checking to make sure there is plenty of water for them to drink.

Also, dogs and cats can get dehydrated, especially if you run or exercise with them. So, be extra vigilant when it comes to their water bowls!

Watch out for heatstroke in your furry friends. Here are some signals that your pet may have heatstroke:

  • Excessive or exaggerated panting
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weakness
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Unresponsive
  • Staring blankly

If you see any of these behaviors, take them to the vet immediately. 

Leave a fan on or run the air conditioner if you have to leave your pets alone. Move the fan close to their dog bed or near any place they regularly hang out, because a constant airflow will help move the hot air away from them.

Don’t take your pets with you in cars on hot days or even warm sunny days for that matter.

On an 80 degree sunny day, your car can get to 120 degrees within an hour. Even if you think you are going to be away from the car for only a couple minutes, don’t do it. Anything can happen, and you could get delayed.

So, the best advice is to leave your pets at home on sunny days.

This last tip is for your non-furry friends. On hot days, our Bearded Dragon Lizard likes to cool off in a pool of water. In this case, leave a bowl of water (preferably not the dog bowl) for your Beardie to cool off in.