Earlier this May, a woman in North Carolina was
charged with animal cruelty
after two dogs died after being left in her car for several
hours. Even though she left the windows cracked open, and the
outside temperature was only 80 degrees, the temperature inside
the car grew so hot, that eventually the dogs succumbed to heat
stroke.Tragic stories like this are a reminder that it’s
incredibly important to be extra careful with our pets during the
warmer months. Sweltering weather can be uncomfortable for us,
but ultimately, we can generally find refuge in air conditioning,
make sure to keep drinking cold water, and strip down to as
little clothing as possible. It’s not so easy for cats and dogs.
Follow these tips to ensure your pets have a comfortable, safe,
and cool summer.
1. Know What’s Normal
The best way for you to recognize heat stroke or heat-related
distress in your cat or dog is to be incredibly aware of how they
usually behave when the mercury isn't sky high. Does your cat
often drape herself along the floor, looking vaguely lethargic?
Then it’s likely not a cause for worry, regardless of the
temperature. But if your cat doesn’t usually rest that way, or
your dog doesn’t typically pant quite so heavily, these could be
signs of heat stroke. The more familiar you are with your pet's
habits and behavior, the easier it will be for you to know when
something just isn't quite right.
STORY: 7 Unsuspected Pet
Dangers of Summer
2. Don’t Leave Dogs in Cars
Just like small children and babies, dogs should not be left
alone in the car. If you’re running errands, consider leaving the
dog at home. Or, bring the dog into the store with you if it’s
pet-friendly. Even cracking the windows isn’t enough to keep your
dog cooled off, since the temperature inside an enclosed car
rises much faster than the temperature outside.RELATED
STORY: 5 Steps to a Safe Drive
With Your Dog
3. Be Smart About Exercise
Making sure your pet gets adequate exercise is
such an important part of their health, and shouldn't be
neglected just because it's hot outside. That said, just like you
might avoid a 5K run when it's over 95 degrees, so too should
your dog skip strenuous exercise when it's really roasting
outside. If you are going to exercise, see the next tip, and
schedule wisely.Don't forget, even if your dog or cat isn't going
outside, it's important to make sure that your home is cool
enough for them to stay comfortable: consider keeping the AC
going, or make sure there is a cool area in your home for your
pets. For a break, try setting up a kiddie pool or sprinkler in
the yard for your dog.RELATED STORY: Which 7 Breeds of Dogs Exercise the
4. Walk in Mornings and Evenings
Schedule your dog
walks around the coolest times of day: the early morning and the
evening. Keep walks brief if you have to go out during midday,
when the sun is at its hottest. Be mindful of the
temperature of the surfaces you and your dog are walking on --
even though paws are a bit more sturdy than bare feet, if the
sidewalk, sand, or brick pathway feels scorching hot for you,
it’ll also be quite painful for your dog's
Hiking Tips for Pet
5. Make Sure Water Is Always Plentiful and Fresh
cats don’t drink enough water -- this is a common problem --
but as temperatures rise, inadequate hydration can cause real
health issues. Jazz up your cat’s water bowl by putting in a few
ice cubes, or, if your cat doesn’t have one already, consider
trying out a fountain
. Make sure whether you're inside or outside with your dog, you
always have fresh,clean water available.
STORY: Are Automatic
Fountains Good for Cats? Understand the Pros and ConsNeed
a new water dish for the warmer weather? Try PetPlus
is a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only
access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on
food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach
Keep your Dog Safe at the Beach
The dog days of summer are upon us, and many pet parents are
taking their four-legged friends to the beach for some fun
in the sun. The beach can be a great place to kick back, relax,
cool down, and toss a frisbee with a furry companion, but before
heading out to sea, it’s important to be prepared to keep your
pal safe on land and in the water. Check out our tips for keeping
your dog safe at the beach.
- Before taking your dog to the beach, make sure that your dog
is allowed to be there! While many beaches are dog-friendly,
others are not, and taking your dog to a people-only beach could
result in a citation or fine.
- If you take your dog to a dog-friendly beach, remember that
posted beach rules are laws, so follow them carefully. Common
beach rules include keeping your dog off of dunes, cleaning up
after your dog, and keeping your dog on a leash which is
extremely important in keeping your dog safe on the beach.
- Make sure that your dog is up to date on
- Your dog should wear a collar with an ID
tag at all times. Your dog should also know
the “come” command
if you plan to let them off leash.
- Be prepared with a pet first
aid kit in the event that your dog steps on a piece of
glass or has an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish.
- Dogs that should not go to the beach
include: puppies under 4
months (for their own safety), aggressive dogs (for their own safety
and the safety of others), and female dogs in heat (because they
could cause fighting amongst intact male dogs).
- Be a good citizen. Don’t let your dog bother other dogs, bark
excessively, or otherwise disturb other beach-goers who are
trying to relax. If your dog is causing a scene or making a mess,
it is probably time to head home.
RELATED STORY: The 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water
- Don’t assume that your dog can swim. While it’s true that
some dogs are natural swimmers, others -- especially those with
flat faces (like pugs
) -- find it more difficult to take a dip. If you’re not sure
about your pup’s water skills, outfit them with a life vest
and supervise your dog whenever they get into the water.
- Even if your dog is an expert swimmer, lead them toward
calmer waters and away from dangers like speedboats and
riptides, and ask a lifeguard to point out any potential
- Don’t let your dog drink salt water. While you won’t be
able to keep your dog from taking a few gulps here and there,
you should discourage them from drinking too much as salt
water in excess can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even
Additionally, some waters may contain dangerous
illness-carrying microorganisms. Bring plenty of fresh water
along and offer that to your dog instead.
RELATED STORY: Pet First Aid: How to Treat Dog
- Salt water can also irritate a dog’s skin, so rinse your
dog with fresh water before leaving the beach or upon
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Sun
- It can get hot at the beach, so look out for signs of
overheating and heatstroke, including rapid panting,
drooling, loss of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse,
and loss of consciousness. If your dog exhibits any of
these symptoms, get them
out of the sun immediately and head to the vet’s office.
- Hot sand can burn sensitive paws. Bring a blanket or
towel for your dog and consider dog booties if it’s a
particularly steamy day.
- Offer a shady place for your dog to take a break, like
under an umbrella or a pop-up tent.
- Dogs with pink noses and light, thin coats are at risk
for sunburn and skin cancer. Apply dog sunscreen to your
dog’s ears, nose, belly, and any other exposed
areas. Some dogs -- like those with hair loss or very thin hair -- may
also benefit from wearing a dog t-shirt.
Now that you're prepared, go have some fun!
Do you take your dog to
the beach? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and to keep
your pet safe and healthy all year round, consider
signing up for PetPlus!
PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides
member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus
discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and