As the weather continues to warm up, it’s essential to think about our dogs and cats – and how to keep them cool, comfortable, and safe.

To help your pet avoid overheating and other common summertime injuries, follow these simple safety tips.

Never leave your pet in a car. It can take only minutes for an animal to suffer a heat stroke and suffocate in a parked car. Even if you are running only one quick errand, please leave your four-legged family member at home.

Provide plenty of shade and water when outdoors. Dehydration can occur rapidly in cats and dogs. Always provide your pet with plenty of fresh, cold water. When outside, keep your pet in the shade as much as possible. Yes, this also includes our sun-loving kitty cats!

Keep paws off hot surfaces. During the day, sidewalks, sand, and other surfaces can become extremely hot, even if the air temperature feels comfortable. To help protect your pet’s sensitive paws, walk them early in the morning or during the evening. The cool surface temperature will also help reduce their risk of overheating since pets release body heat through their paws.

Keep your windows and doors closed. Since many pets are natural escape artists, it’s always good to keep all windows and doors closed unless you are monitoring them with a close eye. A cat can easily fall from a second-story window and break a limb – and a dog can run through an open door within seconds, increasing their risk of being hit by a car.

Protect your pet from ticks and other parasites. In the summer, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites are everywhere. Make sure your furry companion receives all preventable medications each time they are due. Only one missed dose can lead to heartworms or a tickborne disease.

Know the danger signs. Last but not least, watch for possible signs of overheating. Heat-related conditions can become life-threatening without immediate treatment. Overheated pets can suffer heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, while a normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5ºF. Anything higher than that means your pet is in danger.

Overheating signs include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Thick drool
  • Dry or bright red gums
  • Wobbly legs
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

Westfield Veterinary Group is Available 24/7

If your pet does experience a heat-related issue or injury this summer, bring them to our 24/7 emergency care team at our Union location as soon as possible. Our experienced veterinarians and support staff are available all day and night, every day to help fur babies in need.