Hot weather and pets: Here’s how to keep them safe

When it gets hot outside, pet owners need to remember to keep their dogs, cats, horses and any other beloved pets cool.

The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association offers these tips that pet owners should follow as the temperature rises:

  • Never leave a pet in a hot car. Within a few minutes, even with windows rolled down, the heat in a car soars into triple-digit temperatures!
  • Don’t take walks on hot outdoor surfaces. If a sidewalk or parking lot would be too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on, too. Pavement baking in the summer sun can burn tender paw pads. Walk them in the cooler grass and look for shaded areas in which to walk. Also schedule walks at cooler times of the day, such as the early morning or evening hours.
  • Keep cool. Regarding shade, make sure that when your pet is outdoors that it is in a shady area, especially in the heat of the day. Bowls of frequently changed, cool, clean water also help keep the temperature manageable and water parasites at bay.
  • Beware of plants. There are a number of poisonous decorative plants that may be in your yard. Some are hazardous to animals. Research what is in your yard that may be harmful to your pet. Also, keep fertilizers and other yard chemicals out of your pet’s reach.
  • Avoid drowning hazards. Have a swimming pool or water feature in your yard? Make sure you’re around to supervise your pet so that they remain safe from drowning, or block pet access to the pool or water feature. Consider using a pet life jacket anytime your pet is near water or on a boat.
  • Avoid heat stroke. Pets with thick fur, that are overweight or that have respiratory issues are especially prone to heat stroke. Consider giving your pet’s fur a summer cut and brushing him or her frequently.
  • Be aware of window and door safety. Make sure open windows or patio doors have screens on them, or keep windows/doors closed altogether.