Summer pet care: Take steps to keep Fido cool

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer can be a fun time for humans and pets alike, but it presents special challenges and dangers to members of the animal persuasion.

Kay Hurley, communications director for the Suffolk Humane Society, had a handful of tips for keeping your pet healthy and happy during the summertime.

Most importantly, never leave any animal unattended in a car. During the summer, even outside temperatures in the 80s — mild by Hampton Roads summer standards — can result in temperatures inside a closed car well above 100 degrees. Such temperatures can mean a miserable death for an animal within minutes of being left.


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“It’s never a good idea to leave your pet in a car,” she said. “Hopefully, most people are aware of that now.”

In addition, dogs and cats should be given extra, fresh water during the summer, even those that stay indoors. Dogs should never be kept on chains, but if you must, Hurley says, ensure the dog has plenty of fresh water and food.

“It makes a dog vulnerable and tends to make a dog more aggressive,” she said, explaining why it’s inhumane to leave a dog on a chain. “We wouldn’t want to be on a chain.”

She said even dogs that stay outdoors with water should be brought inside during an especially oppressive heat wave. Owners should watch their dogs closely while they’re walking them or playing with them.

“Think that the pet is going to be tired before it exhibits symptoms,” she said.

But the heat can affect animals in more ways than just their body temperature. Owners should take care that they’re not walking their dogs on hot pavement that can burn the pads on the animals’ paws.

“A dog will want to go with you regardless,” she said.

Finally, dogs and cats both should be checked for ticks regularly during the summer. If one is found, consult your veterinarian on the best way to remove it.