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  • Writer's pictureTraci Wilkerson Steckel

Summertime & Pet Heat Safety

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

The Paws Spot blog by Traci's Paws provides safety tips on keeping your pets safe during the warmer temps and summertime.
Traci's Paws spokesdog Emee the Chi enjoying a summer day safer with a lightweight hat to block the sun, for The Paws Spot pet blog.

Summer has been here for a few months, and although we've gotten accustomed to the moderate temps, we are in for a DANGEROUS High Heat Advisory over the weekend in San Diego and Orange Counties.

Like people, animals living in areas with moderate temps are just not accustomed to extreme heat like what we’re experiencing here in San Diego or anywhere in the United States.

(Especially when it's in the 60's one day and over 100 the next.)

You can bet that if it’s hot for you, it’s even hotter for your pets. It’s imperative that you remain vigilant and watch for possible heat stroke in your pets and do everything you can to prevent overheating. We've prepared some great news for you to use in "The Paws Spot" blog, and we hope you will be able to keep your furry friends safe. Please make sure to know where your local Emergency Vets are located in case you need to visit this weekend.

One of the first things you can do is ensure your pet’s shelter or space is safe by creating an open area with adequate airflow and plenty of water. If you normally keep your pets outside during the day, try to bring them in, but do not put them in an enclosed room or garage unless there is air conditioning or plenty of airflows; just cracking a window will not suffice.

Traci's Paws blog, The Paws Spot provides many easy ways that you can cool off your pets at home without breaking the bank. Use your kid's pool to cool off your pups!
Traci's Paws spokesdogs Lexi the Dachs & Emee the Chi take a supervised dip in the kiddie pool to stay cool during the summer.

If your pets must shelter outside (we really hope they don't have to, though), please make sure space has plenty of air circulation and plenty of WATER! Try to create some shade without compromising the open space.

Putting ice blocks in a kiddie pool may be a great idea for your large dogs to hop in and cool off throughout the day as well. And horses and farm animals like this too!

Remember to never leave any pets unattended near a swimming pool because they may fall or jump in to cool off and find themselves unable to get out.

Putting ice in your pet’s water and creating frozen treats are a great way for farm animals, cats, dogs, and small animals to stay cool. From ice trays to large Rubbermaid containers, freeze your pets' treats in water or use bone broth to create a fun and cool treat for them during the day.

In addition to staying cool, it is imperative to keep your pet hydrated, especially senior pets. A tip to help with this is to add water or a mixture of a little bone broth with water to your pet’s food, just if they’re not making enough trips to the water bowl throughout the day. It's also something we did with Traci's Paws spokesdog Lexi and still does for our little Emee the Chi. (RIP to our little Lexi, we couldn't bear to use this photo again.)

If you normally exercise your pets before you leave for the day, it is best to either go extra early in the morning or wait until much later when it has cooled down. Pets can overheat very quickly, and if you are in an area where you are experiencing extra high temps earlier than usual, skip it, don’t risk it. That's our motto!

The Pads of this dog's paw have been burned after walking on hot pavement. Traci's Paws pet blog, The Paws Spot. Photo credit Dogtime Magazine.
The Paws Spot contributors say to NEVER walk your dog on hot sidewalks because it can result in burning your dog's paw pads.

Hot sidewalks and asphalt can burn and damage paws and getting

out in the heat can be too much for pets who are not used to this heat. Even riding in the car might be too much when it is scorching outside. The time it takes to cool off some cars might be too long for your dog, and leaving your dog in the car would be deadly. Especially if your pet has an underlying health condition like a heart murmur or heart failure.


Did you know that 11 states allow you to save a dying dog from closed, hot cars? Check your state laws to see if you are permitted to help rescue a dog from a car and all of the guidelines that accompany it. Some states require that you call the police; first, others make you pay for the rescue's damage.

Chart showing the heat inside a vehicle, provided by Department of Geosciences at SFSU.

This chart shows just how quickly the temperature inside a car can rise, even with the windows down. It is deadly for pets left in the car even on a semi-warm day, even for just a few minutes.

Check out this news KUSI segment with our friend John Van Zante from Rancho Coastal Humane Society, discussing & demonstrating on his thermometer what it's like inside of a car during the summer and just how quickly the heat can rise inside. (click photo to open video). Again, NEVER EVER leave your pets inside a car. Not even for a second.

Despite this heat, as long as you keep a watchful eye and keep your pet cool, you can escape the heatwave with a happy and healthy pet. Remember, if you fear your pet may be overheating, you suspect burned paws, or you need a professional opinion on keeping your pet safe, be sure to call your veterinarian for advice or to schedule an appointment. Remember, Traci's Paws and The Paws Spot are not veterinarians or veterinary services. Please contact your vet for any professional health advice.

Lots of love from Traci and Emee the Chi!

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