Summer Heat and Pets
Your pets have special needs during the summer when the temperature and humidity are much higher. Most dogs and cats wear a heavy fur coat, and have a limited ability to cool themselves. They have sweat glands only on their paws, so they cannot sweat to stay cool as humans do. Dogs and cats mostly pant to cool themselves, and seek cool places to avoid the summer heat.
If your pet is kept outdoors, make sure he has a shaded place and plenty of fresh water to drink. Your pet will need much more water in the summer to replenish what he loses by panting. Many dogs also enjoy swimming for exercise and to cool down.
Never keep your pet in a car, especially in direct sun, on a summer day. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside the car can soar to 120 degrees or more within minutes. These conditions can kill a pet in less than 10 minutes.
If you like to run or do vigorous exercise with your dog, do so at cooler times of the day such as early morning or evening. If you exercise during the hotter times of day, your dog will have much more difficulty cooling himself and could overheat quickly. He will often try to keep going to keep up with you, and you may not realize that he is seriously overheating, until his condition is severe.
When you exercise with your dog in the summer, stop and let him drink frequently. Make sure he is not overweight and is well conditioned for this activity before the hotter days of summer. You might even soak him with water before you exercise with him so he can stay cooler. This is especially important for long-haired or heavy-coated dogs. Dogs with very short hair have less difficulty keeping themselves cool.
A dog's normal body temperature is 100-102 degrees. If his rectal temperature starts to go above 105 degrees, he is approaching a danger zone of heat stroke. He will often be panting very hard, his gums may very dark pink or even reddish, and he may feel quite hot to the touch. If he is in this condition, soak him with cool or cold water immediately and take him promptly to the nearest veterinarian. This is an emergency situation, and requires immediate care.