Help Your Pet Beat the Heat During the Dog Days of Summer

In Colorado, we love spending time enjoying all our beautiful state has to offer, often with our furry friends in tow. How can you make sure your pets stay safe when temperatures soar? Follow these simple tips to help your pets beat the heat during the dog days of summer.

NEVER leave your pet in a parked car

Even if you are parked in the shade, even if you leave the window down, even if you’ll be right back, even if it’s “not that hot,” don’t ever leave your pet in a parked car. Cars can heat up very quickly, resulting in heat stroke, which can be fatal. When it’s just 75 degrees outside, your car can heat up to 94 degrees within 10 minutes and 109 degrees within 30 minutes. If you’re going somewhere that doesn’t allow pets to come inside, it’s best to leave them at home where they can stay cool and safe.

Watch the clock—and the thermometer

If you’re a dedicated pet owner who takes your dog on a walk no matter the weather, make sure you go for your daily stroll in the early morning or evening hours instead of the middle of the day when it’s hottest. It’s also a good idea to shorten the length of your daily walks and find routes that offer more shade.

It’s important for hikers to remember that pets can’t dissipate heat like humans and can become overheated very quickly. Most emergency calls on hiking trails are for dogs in distress. If you’re planning to hike on a hot day, it’s best to leave your pets at home or go early in the morning before it gets too hot.

When temperatures soar, you should also keep your pets off of hot asphalt to prevent them from burning their sensitive paw pads. Touch the pavement with your hands—if it’s hot to your touch, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Let your dog walk on grass or wait until the temperature cools down.

Water, water and more water

Regardless of the season, your pet should always have access to cool, fresh water. It is especially important as temperatures rise. It can help prevent dehydration and heat stroke.

Know your pet

Older and overweight animals are more likely to overheat. Flat-faced breeds like Persian cats, pugs and bulldogs have a lower tolerance to heat as well. Pets with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, can also have a tougher time in hot weather.

Don’t forget about sunscreen

Yes, pets can get sunburned too. Breeds with white skin, such as American bulldogs, can get sunburned if they are exposed to the sun for extended periods, regardless of the temperature. Human sunscreen is not safe for your furry friends, so make sure you purchase sunscreen that is specifically made for animals.