Take Extra Precautions for Pets in Hot Weather

All dogs, regardless of breed, are vulnerable to the effects of excessive heat. That’s because they can’t cool themselves as efficiently as people can. Even dogs with thin coats can suffer from the effects of the sun and heat, including heatstroke and even sunburns.

It’s important to take steps to ensure your dog is comfortable and safe during hot weather.

1. Leave your dog at home when running errands. 

In a matter of minutes, the heat inside a car can reach dangerous levels and can cause heat stroke, organ damage or even death.  

2. Give them lots and lots of water!

Always provide your dog with unlimited, clean water to drink. Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather.

3. Exercise

Try exercising your dog during cooler times of the day such as morning and evening and limiting the length of your walk.

4. Be wary of pavement and sand heat

Pavements and sand can become very hot and could burn your dog’s pads. Test the pavement with your hands before venturing out. Invest in protective booties to prevent pads from being burnt.

5. Cool place at home

Create a cool place at home for your dog such as a tiled floor or in the basement. Set up a fan or invest in a pet cooling mat.

Pet paddling pools or sprinklers are perfect for your dog to cool off while outside. Keep water levels below your pet’s chest if you have a small dog.

6. Extra grooming

Brush your dog daily during the shedding period to get rid of some hair and if appropriate, give your dog a trim. It’s not recommended to shave your dog. A coat of fur can act as protection for your dog from UV damage and helps to keep some of the sun’s heat out. 

Signs of Heat Stroke and Signs an Animal is in Distress: 

  • Excessive, rapid panting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Drooling
  • Weakness, tremors, convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Reddening and flushing of the skin on the inside of your dog’s ears
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Trouble walking, wobbly

Heatstroke can be fatal for anyone, including pets. If you think your dog has heat stroke, get your dog out of the sun immediately and contact your vet in an emergency. Cool the dog down in a cool room wrapping it in cool towels, particularly around your pet’s tummy, underarm and groin areas where fur is thinnest.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth

How to Help a Pet Left in a Hot Car:

  1. Take down the car’s make, model and licence plate number and exact location.
  2. If the dog is in distress, call 911.
  3. If the owner can’t be found nearby, call 311 and wait by the car for Animal Control Officers to arrive. 

Leaving an animal in a hot car and causing it to be in distress may result in fines or charges under the Animal Protection Act and/or the Criminal Code of Canada.