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So, what do you give a hot dog? Give it some mustard. Right? While summer is the perfect time for roasting some Franks, the condiment, mustard, won’t help your pet beat the heat this summer. So how can you actually take care of your dog when his temperature is high?

Jokes aside, taking your pet’s health into consideration this summer is extremely important. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to do what’s suitable for your animal. A cat or dog may not be able to tell you when too much time in the sun is too much. Your furry friend doesn’t understand the problems that may occur due to the heat and humidity.

You’ve found this article, so you’re on the right track of knowing what’s best for you and Fido. The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) provides insight on dealing with the heat.

8 safety tips for pet owners

1. Do not leave your pet in the car

The inside of a car is no place for an animal to be left unsupervised. While animals left unattended can get into mischief, the inside of a car can reach 160°F, even with windows cracked, according to WHS.

“If you see an animal who is in obvious distress or in a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1,” says Angela Speed, Vice President of Communications at the WHS.

Hot Weather Safety tips from Wisconsin Humane Society

Under Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan Law, if you see a vulnerable person or a pet in a car you suspect is dangerously hot, follow these steps:

  1. Check to see if the doors are locked.
    • If yes, look to see if an adult responsible for the child or pet is nearby.
    • If no, call 911 first, and then try to break one of the windows in the vehicle.
  2. Stay onsite until law enforcement or first responders arrive.

– Courtesy of the Wisconsin Humane Society

2. Excercise when the time is right

If you are hot, chances are that your pet is too. The best time to exercise your pet is early in the morning. Temperatures in the morning tend to be cooler and this will help your pet from developing any heat-related illness. If you can’t take your pet for a walk or play fetch with them in the morning, then wait until the sun goes down. When the temperature is hot, make sure exercise is done in short increments.

Image by Cody Murphy

3. Test the pavement

Can you imagine walking barefoot on the scorching hot pavement? For animals, this is their reality. When it’s hot outside, the pavement can reach incredibly hot temperatures. Animals can suffer injuries to their paws due to dangerously hot pavement. No matter the time of day, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If it’s too hot for the back of your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.

4. Never leave an animal outside

When letting your pooch outside, remember to let them back in. Animals can suffer from being out in the sun for too long. If they are outside, make sure they have water and a shaded area to rest in. If you have an outdoor animal, it is necessary that they have plenty of water, food and shaded areas to reside in. If it’s too hot for you to be outside for an extended period of time, the same applies to your pet.

5. Turn on the AC or Fans

On those hot summer days, it is important to turn on the AC or fans. Even if you are away at work or for another reason, but your pet is at home, regulate the temperature in your house to accommodate them. If you don’t have AC, turn on fans for the pets. If they are being crated, make sure they have access to food and water. Remove crate covers as they could increase the temperature in the kennel. Think of your pets when at home and if you are away by adjusting the temperature in your house.

6. Be mindful of age, breed, and health

Certain breeds with flat faces and pressed-in noses are sadly more likely to develop problems like heat-related illnesses and dehydration. Animals that are older, heavier and ones with preexisting conditions like heart and lung diseases need to be monitored with close attention as well.

7. Know the signs

Even if you take actions to prevent heat-related illness in your dog knowing the signs of heat stroke in animals is important.

Signs of heat stroke include panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, rapid pulse, bright red gums, and a blue tongue or lips. These symptoms apply to both dogs and cats.

8. Treat symptoms

If you notice that your pet has developed symptoms of heat-related illness, they need to be treated. If you notice symptoms, move your animal to a cool place and lower its body temperature. Give your animal cool (not icy) water, and contact your vet.

In an emergency, take your pet in to be seen. Worried about the cost?

“Many vet clinics offer payment plans or Care Credit, so a private veterinary clinic is your best resource for emergency vet care. WHS requests appointments for surrenders, but we won’t turn away an animal if an emergency surrender is needed. Please note that we are not staffed 24/7. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to offer full veterinary services to the public,” says Speed.

Adoptable pets

The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS), which offers the Featured Pet segment, is a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to build a community where people value animals and treat them with respect and kindness.

Founded in 1879, the WHS has been saving the lives of animals in need for nearly 140 years. WHS is a 501(c)(3) organization and operates animal shelters in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Door, and Brown Counties, as well as a spay/neuter clinic in West Allis. WHS annually serves 40,000 animals. WHS receives no general government funding and is not part of any national umbrella organization. WHS is the largest shelter in the state of Wisconsin.

resources for pets and their humans

Racine County Community Resource Directory

The Racine County Eye has compiled a helpful Community Resource Directory to provide assistance when someone is in need of available resources. This directory contains resources such as emergency resources, abuse resources, advocacy support, consumer…


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