Keep Fido & Fluffy Safe in the Hot Summer Sun

Fun-in-the-sun, splash-in-the-pool, throw-one-on-the-barbie time can be dangerous for your pets unless you keep a watchful eye to make sure fun ensues.  By being a caring pet parent, you can keep the fun flowing while keeping your furry kids out of harm’s way, so…open your eyes to impending hazards that could put the brakes on Summer-time fun.

Cars & the Heat

Even with windows open, a parked car can quickly reach more than 150 degrees resulting in heat stroke, permanent brain damage or death to your pet. Never leave your dog or cat unattended in the car for even a few minutes.

Pets don’t sweat! Panting works like an evaporative cooling system bringing in cool air only if there is any. An air-conditioned house is safest for your pet, but the next best thing is a well-ventilated/insulated doghouse or a shaded porch with a fan or misting system. Provide fresh water all day long making sure that outside bowls remain in the shade even when the sun moves in the late afternoon. Outside food bowls should be placed in a pan containing a few inches of water to keep ants out.

Hot concrete & asphalt can burn precious paws! Walk your pets during the cool parts of the day and stick to the grass. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for paws. Dog shoes are great on hot surfaces for short periods of time, but since heat is expelled from the pads of the feet, your dog is likely to overheat if his paws are covered for long.


Avoid coolant spills and use only “Pet & Wildlife Safe” products in your house & yard. Make sure garbage is safely put away. Spoiled, moldy foods can result in severe stomach upsets and even death. Keep your dog in a fenced yard and walk him on a leash to prevent him from getting into the neighbors' trash. Be prepared with the number for the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435.

Parasites, Insects & Snakes

Control fleas and ticks and keep your pets well groomed, but don’t shave long-haired pets down to the skin as their fur insulates from the heat and prevents sunburn. Learn pet first-aid for bee stings and insect bites. Hot weather brings out Rattlesnakes. Your best safety device is keeping control of your dog by having him on a leash and your kitty in the house. Limit the rodent population in your yard by removing ivy and piles of wood since where there are mice, there are snakes to eat them! Should your pet get bitten by a rattlesnake, keep him calm and immediately transport him to an animal care center that carries anti-venom.

Water Safety & Summer Fun

All dogs do not know how to swim and thousands die every year from drowning. Beware of fishhooks, fishing line, sharp rocks and dangerous water life. Discourage pets from drinking out of lakes or streams where they can obtain microscopic dangers such as Giardia, which can result in vomiting and diarrhea that can be passed along to you.

Cookouts can result in burned paws and summer-time foods like burgers, franks and fried chicken can cause a canine or feline pancreatitis.


The weeks before and after the Fourth of July are the busiest of the year at Animal Shelters across the U.S. Loud booms and flashing fireworks scare animals from the safety of their homes. They become disoriented and end up miles away, and those…are the lucky ones. Many more meet their fate by running frantically into the path of a car, so please keep all pets safely indoors. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and I.D. Tag in case the unthinkable does happen and consider a microchip. Close drapes and turn on a radio or television to mask noise and distract the pet’s attention from the pops and bangs. Make sure doors, windows and gates are secure, and if your pet is easily agitated, make sure someone stays with him during the festivities. For extreme cases, Veterinarians often prescribe a mild sedative.

Denise Fleck is a recent recipient of the Maxwell Dog Writer’s of America Award for her work.  She is the author of Quickfind Books’ Pet Care for dogs and cats and an animal care instructor specializing in Pet First-Aid and CPR.  Denise has appeared on various television and radio programming and shares pet tips twice monthly on the KTLA 9AM News.  In her spare time, she serves as President of the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, is a member of the Surf City Animal Response Team, writes for a variety of animal publications and has developed her own line of Pet First-Aid kits. She is currently owned by two very energetic Akitas…Haiku & Bonsai!  Visit her website at

Catch up on past Pet Care Articles here!

Make a Comment

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (5 votes)