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Safeguard Pets in Summer Heat

Safeguard Pets in Summer Heat

AUBURN, Alabama–As the state bakes with temperatures in the 90s, remember to protect pets from the dangers of heat-related illnesses. Alabama Extension specialist Robert Spencer says it’s important to take extra measures to keep pets hydrated in high temperatures.

Plentiful Water Crucial

“Pets should have access to fresh water at multiple locations,” he said.  “Animals may be unwilling to move about to access water.

“Also, ponds, streams, and creeks may not be enough and they may not offer fresh, healthy water.”

Dr. Lauren Marks, a veterinarian in northeast Alabama, seconded Spencer said that adequate water is crucial and should be monitored closely.

Marks said, “I always recommend checking water twice a day.”

She said to provide dogs larger than 30 to 40 pounds with one gallon of water per day and smaller dogs with one-half gallon per day.

“Too much water won’t hurt them,” said Marks.  “It’s not getting enough that causes problems.”

Made in the Shade

Additionally, shade is another vital element to a pet’s well-being, especially those that stay outside.

“Any shade is good shade as long as there is ventilation,” said Marks.

Spencer added that pets need shade from early morning until dusk.

“Shade can be in the form of leafy trees or bushes where animals can escape direct sunlight,” he said. “Semi-enclosed shelters with good air flow are another shade option.”

Spencer added that fan with fans and misters can be used in place where practical and will help keep pets cooler.

Marks said that white or lighter colored pets require additional shade because they sunburn more easily.

If you believe your pet is suffering from a heat-related illness, Marks said to look for bright red gums, hyper-salivation and a temperature exceeding 104 degrees. These symptoms indicate that the dog is in need of immediate emergency medical care.




Featured image by Helen Sushitskaya/shutterstock.com




About Rebecca Oliver


  1. Great article and a great reminder of how much hydration our friends actually need. We just recently had a client in a panic who had left their pet out with some water. Long story short, we rushed to her home to help her move her dog to the vet for treatment as he was unresponsive. He is alive now, but the long-term effects will always be worn.

    Anyhow, great article and I hope it touched home with pet moms and dads about the fatal nature of the heat in the South, and other locations each summer.

  2. Awesome article …. Thanks a lot for sharing this post ….. And While there is nothing more enjoyable than taking my fur babies for a ride….. I leave them at home unless it is to the corner store and I leave my car running with AC running FULL BLAST. There have been a few occasions when I took them with me and used my auto start to keep them cool. But I was also AWARE that you can only trust auto start, (and I NEVER leave my car till it is running) to keep your car running for 15 to 20 minutes. And i NEVER trust it to run for the 20 JUST TO BE SAFE. I Check my watch when I start the car. It has always run for 20 minutes. So I demand that I am back at my car in 15 minutes. NEVER TRUST AUTOMATION. But most always, I just leave them at home if it is sunny at any time unless it is in the winter. This way, I know they are safe FOR SURE!!!!!

  3. Well thank you so much for sharing, long hair on pets can also cause health issues and infections.