Keep your pet safe in hot weather

Keep Your Pet Safe in Hot Weather

| June 16, 2021

Along with embarrassing sweat stains and frizzy hair, summertime poses a risk to our animals. Most of you are well aware of how susceptible they are to the unforgiving humidity this region has to offer.

That is why, we are calling on YOU to spread the word! Whether it’s a share on social media or just a friendly reminder the next time you see your friend.

Here’s a reminder for those who know, and a starting point for those who don’t.

How animals overheat

Over-exercise, dehydration, or inadequate shade: pets can get dehydrated extremely quickly during the hot, humid days of summer. This is why it is so important to provide them plenty of fresh water and breaks in the shade. Consider walking your dog in the early morning and late afternoon/evening to avoid the scorching midday heat. Keep playtime short and always be mindful of the signs of overheating—excessive panting, muscle twitching, an anxious or dazed look, vomiting, weakness, increased drooling, and diarrhea (from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association).

It is also important to watch out for hot surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and even sand. The hot summer sun can make these surfaces extremely dangerous for your dog’s already sensitive paw pads.

Older, more obese or short-nosed dogs (like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs), should be watched carefully as they cannot effectively regulate their body temperature as their airways are different from other dogs. Puppies, kittens, and pets with health issues may also be susceptible to serious heat. Keep these guys in cool, air-conditioned areas as often as you can.

What to do if you think your pet is overheating

Watch for the signs and symptoms of heat stroke—excessive panting, muscle twitching, an anxious or dazed look, vomiting, lethargy, increased drooling, and diarrhea (from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association).

Heat stroke is an emergency. Move your pet to a cool and shaded area right away. Provide them with cool, not freezing cold, water. If you have a fan, direct the fan on them. Then, with a cool, damp towel, wet their coat and put on a fan on them (if available).

Take them to your veterinarian immediately. Severe untreated heat stroke can result in death.

Pets and hot cars

Year after year, we see heartbreaking stories of animals dying of heat exhaustion after being left in parked cars. Despite repeated warnings from veterinarians and police, the problem persists throughout Ontario.

Here are the facts:

Grey skies or blue, sun or shade, hot, humid, mild or breezy—the inside of a car can become a death trap for an animal. Even with the windows rolled down, temperatures in a car can skyrocket within minutes.

Unlike humans who sweat to regulate body temperature, dogs don’t have prominent sweat glands. Instead, they resort to panting to keep cool. They cannot cope with the rapid rise in temperature.

What to do if you find a pet in a car

1. Call 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625) or call the local police.

2. In the meantime, record the time you found the dog and take down the license plate and car information. You might need these details. Then try to locate the owner. Remain calm. Being confrontational does not help anyone, including the animal.

3. Keep calm and assess the situation. Check for signs of overheating—excessive panting, glazed eyes, fatigue, a dazed look (like they appear to be “out of it”), or vomiting. If the animal is unresponsive to your approach, they could be suffering from heatstroke.