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May 20, 2013

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe During Warm Weather

Teenage boy outside with dog and laptop

iStockphoto.com/Markanja

As we prepare to kick off summer this Memorial Day weekend, The Humane Society of the United States reminds everyone to keep pets safe during the warm months ahead.

“Summer is the perfect time to enjoy being with your pets,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues at The Humane Society of the United States. “But it’s important to keep your pets’ ID tags current in case they get lost, and beware of dangers associated with the warm weather, like hot pavement, hot cars and garden chemicals. With just a few extra precautions, you and your four-legged family members can have a happy and safe sun-filled season.”

The HSUS offers a few tips to keep your pets safe and healthy during summer:

Safer summer outings

  • While Fido may leap at the opportunity for a joy ride, leaving any pet—dog, cat, rabbit, etc.— alone in a parked car during warm weather can be deadly. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car, even with the windows cracked open, can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes, and after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Even when the temperature outside is a balmy 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour.
  • Your four-legged friend needs exercise too. However, exercising in the summer heat can be just as uncomfortable for your pet as it is for you. Take your walks in the early mornings or late evening, not in the heat of midday, and remember that hot pavement can burn the pads of your pet’s paws.
  • Keep your pet inside moving cars whenever you travel. A carrier is the safest place for your cat. Letting your dog travel with his or her head outside the open car window is dangerous—flying particles and debris can cause eye damage, and some pets have actually fallen out of moving vehicles. And dogs should never ride unsecured in the back of pickup trucks, regardless of how slow you are moving.


Environmental Hazards

  • Heartworms, ticks and fleas are more of a problem in warmer months and can cause serious health problems. Contact your veterinarian about products that will keep your pet healthy and parasite free
  • Avoid using cocoa mulch, pesticides, fertilizers and other gardening products that can pose hazards to pets, and encourage your neighbors to do the same
  • Summertime can also bring major weather events like hurricanes and tornados. Remember, never leave your pets behind – if conditions aren’t safe for you, they are not safe for your pets. Visit humanesociety.org/disaster for tips on disaster preparedness
  • Sunburn is a hazard for pets who spend time outdoors. Use a pet-safe sunscreen to protect your pet from the sun’s harming rays, which can cause skin cancer especially of the ears and nose
  • For pet owners in the East Coast, while cicadas may be a tempting treat for dogs, eating too many can cause digestive upset


Avoid losing your pets:

  • Check that your pet’s ID tags and microchip information are current, and that their collar is secure. Tags and microchips are life preservers in the event you lose a pet, and will allow whoever finds your pet to notify you quickly
  • Keep your feline friends safe and content indoors by providing them with cat grass and window perches that bring the great outdoors inside. Or consider screening in a porch or outdoor patio where you can allow your kitty some safe outdoor time. Also, cats can be trained to “walk” on a harness (never just use a collar and leash or tie your cat out), allowing you both to enjoy a little more leisure time in the yard
  • Common summer noises like fireworks and thunder may startle pets. For many animal shelters, the day after a town fireworks display is one of the busiest days of the year, as family pets become lost fleeing the sounds. Before a storm or fireworks display, bring your pet indoors or put him/her on a leash or secure tether

For more pet health and safety tips visit humanesociety.org/pets.

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: rcontreras@humanesociety.org, 301-721-6440

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