How to Keep Pets Cool in the Indian Summer Heat


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink…at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments!

Hopefully this won’t be the last of our hot Indian Summer days…here are a few things to remember to keep your pets safe in the heat:

  • Although your indoor cats love to lay in the sun streaming through your windows, you’ll want to be sure to provide a cool place as well. Cool tile floors are great retreats, as are bathtubs. Make sure to have plenty of fresh water throughout the house.
  • What a better time to go to the beach with your dogs? A few things to remember: If the pavement and sand are too hot for your feet, it is too hot for your dog’s pads. Until dogs can wear Havaianas, carry your pooch from the car to the beach towel or spray water in your dog’s path to cool down the surface.
  • Dogs can sunburn, especially on their noses, bellies and ears where the hair is sparse. Protect your dog with a veterinarian approved sun block. Don’t use your fancy face block for humans as it may be toxic.
  • Take lots of water and bowls for your dog – stay hydrated!
  • Dogs with stub noses (Pugs, Frenchies and the like) really can’t handle the heat. They lack the ability to expel excess body heat through their snout as a Shepherd or Collie can. If you have a short-nosed dog, he may be happier and safer at home.
  • This will sound like old news, but we really can’t stress enough how quickly a car can reach temperatures that will send your dog into heatstroke. A car can reach baking temperature in the time that it takes you to dash to the ATM.

Have a safe and lovely Indian Summer, everyone!

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