Security and Safety

6 Summer Pet-Safety Tips

By Rachael Pilcher 5.26.20

Pets are treasured members of our families. The unique bond we form with them makes our lives richer and more enjoyable in many ways. As the leader of the pack, we need to ensure we’re looking out for the well-being of our furry friends at all times.

This is especially important during Texas’ hot summers. Every pet owner needs to be aware of the hazards their animal companions may face over the summer. Here are some helpful tips for avoiding summer’s common dangers and protecting your pets.

1. Prevent Overheating

While humans can regulate their body temperature through sweating, cats and dogs aren’t so lucky. With no sweat glands and an insulating layer of fur, pets can take the heat hard. They have to keep their body temperature down by panting or by sprawling out somewhere cool.

Our triple-digit heat waves mean vigilance is key. Here are a few ways you can protect your pet from overheating:

  • Make sure pets have adequate shade and plenty of water.
  • Keep your home cool with an air conditioner or a fan.
  • Provide cooling mats and give ice cube treats to help your pet through the hottest times.
  • Pay attention to humidity as well as temperature — on humid days, dogs have a harder time panting off heat.
  • The ASPCA has more good tips for preventing overheating.

2. Be Watchful With Exercise

When it’s hot, your pet may tire or dehydrate more quickly from exercise. Take care and keep them safe with the following tips:

  • Try to avoid walking during the hottest part of the day. Early morning and evening are the best times to exercise during the summer months to avoid heatstroke — for both you and your four-legged friends.
  • If you notice your pet panting, drooling, or becoming lethargic while you’re walking, it’s time to get them into the shade, hydrate them, and slowly bring them back to normal temperature.
  • Always make sure to carry enough water for both of you!

3. Protect Against Hot Pavement

Animal paws are as sensitive as human feet, and walking on hot pavement can cause pain and damage. Here are a few ways you can protect their paws:

  • Before you take your pet for a walk, place your hand on the concrete for a few seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
  • Opt for walking on grass.
  • Invest in some stylish booties for your pet to wear when the heat is on.

4. Guard Against Sunburn

Despite their protective fur, pets still get burnt. With the fierce Texas sun, light coats, ears, and noses are in danger of damage. Here are a few ways to keep pets safe from the sun:

  • Make sure your pet has adequate shade from harsh rays.
  • Never use human sunblock on your pets, as most contain zinc oxide, which is toxic to animals.
  • Check for an FDA-approved animal sunblock at your local pet store.

5. Eliminate Car Danger

Never leave your pets in the car for any amount of time, even just a few minutes. Leaving a pet in a hot car counts as animal cruelty and is a chargeable offense in Texas.

With an outside temperature of just 85°F, a car can heat up to 104°F in just 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, the inside of your car could be as hot as 119°F, making it a lethal trap, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. And Texas summers can get much hotter. If you’re driving this summer:

  • Leave your pet safely at home, or
  • Make sure your destination is pet-friendly so they can come inside with you.

6. Avoid Contaminated Water

Texas waterways, rivers, and ponds are a dog’s delight. Though beautiful on the surface, water can be contaminated with toxic algae blooms that can be fatal to animals (and even humans) if ingested. Puddles and gutters in cities can also cause problems for thirsty pets. Keep them out of dangerous waters with these tips:

  • Walk your dog on a leash for peace of mind. That way they can’t go splashing into contaminated water before you can stop them.
  • Don’t let them run into or drink from puddles, gutters, and other water.
  • Make sure to have plenty of fresh drinking water with you so they don’t get tempted to lap up unclean water.

Our pets are sensitive creatures. Being extra vigilant about water, shade, and heat during summer will help ensure their safety and give you a lifetime of treasured summer memories together.

Overheating is an important concern for humans too. Learn what to do in heat emergencies here.

© 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance