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The dos and don'ts for summer pet safety

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With record high temperatures in the Carolinas, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion in your pet is imperative. The following are a few guidelines on the dos and don'ts for keeping your dog safe through the summer months.

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Do not:

  • Leave your pet in a car, even with the windows cracked-the temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly rise 10 degrees every 60 seconds
  • Exercise your pet in the middle of the day-the hottest time of the day can cause your pet to become overexerted more quickly than normal due to the heat
  • Tether your dog in a sunny area-if you are out in the yard with your dog and have to tether, be sure there is adequate shade and plenty of water available
  • Fail to seek veterinary attention if your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke
  • Leave your dog unattended, outdoors, for long lengths of time


  • Apply sunscreen to dogs with short coats, light skin color, and light coat color. Be sure to cover the ears and top of the muzzle with a pet-friendly sunscreen or baby sunscreen such as Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, or Neutrogena Baby
  • Let your dog take a dip-baby pools or swimming opportunities are a great means to keeping your dog cooled off in the heat while providing a fun activity
  • Run/walk your dogs in the early morning before temperatures rise, or in the late evening after the temperatures have fallen
  • Be extra vigilant with brachycephalic dogs, (breeds such as pugs, English Bulldogs, and Japanese Chin) as these dogs have a different upper respiratory anatomy and can encounter breathing problems faster than longer muzzled dogs.
  • Seek veterinary care immediately if your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke.

Signs that your dog may be having heat stroke:

  • Excessive panting
  • Tongue appears to extend from the mouth much longer that usual during panting
  • Collapse
  • High fever, (a normal temperature in a dog ranges from 99.9 to 102.5)
  • Low response or no response to verbal commands
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms:

  • Immediately seek medical attention for your dog
  • Cool the pet with a cool, (not cold or icy) water bath or place a cool water soaked towel on the dog for a few minutes during transport to the hospital
  • Do not try to force your dog to drink water or put water in your dog’s mouth

For more information about summer pet safety, email Sara at