Two dogs being given water

It’s tempting to bring Fido with you everywhere you go, especially during the summertime. The gray days of winter are over and everything is green, vibrant, and ready for adventure. But here in Indiana, our sticky summer days can soar to 80° Fahrenheit or higher—which feels a lot hotter when you factor in the humidity. 

On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car will rise to about 102 degrees within 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked. After 30 minutes, the air inside the car can hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), hundreds of pets die in hot cars every year.  

Summer safety for pets is one of the most important things we advocate for at the Dupont Veterinary Clinic. Here are 3 tips to help you prevent heatstroke in pets

3 Summer Safety Tips for Pets

1. Heatstroke Prevention in Pets: If in Doubt, Leave Fido at Home

If you’re running an errand like heading to the store or picking your kids up from camp, leave your pet at home. There’s no reason for her to come with you. If you’re headed to the dog park or on a hike with your pup, you’ll obviously want to bring Fido. That brings us to Tip #2.

2. Plan Ahead to Avoid Pet Dehydration

You can totally bring your pup with you on a hike or outing to a dog-friendly space. But don’t plan on doing any other errands that your pet can’t get out and join you for. 

Plan out ways to help keep your pet hydrated and cool. Pack a cooler with ice, water, and treats for your pet. Bring a travel bowl for your furry friend to drink out of. When you go into the dog park or head out on a hike, bring enough water for you and your dog—and remember that travel bowl, too. 

Consider investing in a cooling vest, wrap, or bandana for your dog if you routinely spend time outside with them in the summer. 

3. Prepare for Emergencies 

What would you do if the power in your home went out, your air conditioning broke, or your pet started showing signs of heatstroke? 

Prepare ahead of time for these emergencies. Buy a cooling vest for each pet and stash the vests in the freezer. You can pop them on your pets if the AC stops working. 

Keep a stash of water bottles in the fridge that you don’t touch unless there’s an emergency. This will mean having cold water for you and your pet to drink if the power goes out. 

If Fido or Kitty starts showing signs of heatstroke, you’ll want to have an emergency plan in place. Signs of heat sickness include heavy and rapid panting, vomiting, lethargy, and excessive drooling. You should: 

  1. Move your pet to a cool or shady place immediately
  2. Pour cool—not cold—water over your pet’s body
  3. Place rags soaked in cool water on your pup’s paws, head, and belly
  4. Fan your pet with your hands, a magazine, or a book
  5. Seek emergency veterinary care

Offer your pet cool water on the way to the vet. Some pets will need IV fluids, oxygen therapy, and sedation to help them recover from heatstroke. Others may seem fine after they cool down, but it’s important to bring them to the vet anyway. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke can damage your pet’s organs and cause secondary complications. 

You can bring your pet into Dupont Veterinary Clinic for emergency care anytime during our office hours. Our ICU equipment and specialized suites help us give your pet the care he needs. If your pet experiences dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke outside of our office hours, take her to the nearest 24-hour veterinary hospital. 

Beat the Heat 

Our veterinary team will always be here if you need us, but we hope your pet can avoid heatstroke altogether this summer. Keep your pet out of the car, make sure you bring lots of cold water with you when you go hiking or camping, and get those emergency plans in place. 

Contact our team to learn more summer safety tips for pets!