Do not leave your pet in a parked car. A parked car quickly becomes dangerously hot, even with the windows left partly opened. Outside temperatures do not need to be high for a car to become dangerously hot. This puts your pet at risk for irreversible organ damage or death.
Be aware of the humidity. When the humidity is high, dogs have a harder time cooling themselves, leading to overheating with their internal temperatures skyrocketing quickly. A dog’s temperature should not be over 104 degrees. To cool a dog down, offer an ice pack or wet towel for them to lay on. Add ice cubes to their water dish, or if available, a wading pool with shallow, cool water for them to get into.
Limit outdoor activities and exercise on hot days. Adjust the duration and type of activity you do with your dog on hot days. Extended periods of time in the heat can lead to heat stroke and death. Morning and evening hours (before the sun comes up or after the sun goes down) are ideal. Be mindful when walking on asphalt as it gets hot and can burn your dog’s paws, so walk on grass when possible. Always carry water to help keep your pet hydrated.
Provide shade and water. When you’re outside, be sure your pet has protection from heat and sun. Add ice to water when possible to keep it cold. Find shade under trees where airflow is constant. Make sure to keep your home at a comfortable temperature with the AC on or, several fans running. Be sure to provide plenty of water.
Know the signs of heat stroke. Symptoms include: difficulty breathing or sudden rapid breath, a blank or anxious stare, off-color gums and tongue, disorientation, excessive drooling, lack of urine, muscle tremors, or sudden collapse. If your pet is overheated, take action immediately. Immerse your pet with cool (not cold or ice) water to lower their body temperature, then take your pet immediately to a veterinarian. Even if it seems your pet has recovered, it is still necessary to check for internal damage.
Call your veterinarian. If your animal is showing any concerning signs of being dehydrated like loss of appetite, reduced energy levels, excessive panting, sunken, dry-looking eyes, dry nose and gums, palen gums, or loss of skin elasticity, call your veterinarian immediately.
If you see something, say something. If you believe a pet is being neglected by a lack of adequate shelter and water in the heat, call The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Humane Investigation team at 312-645-8090. For more information on signs of abuse and neglect, visit anticruelty.org.