Summer Survival Guide: Essential Tips to Keep Your Pets Cool, Comfortable, Happy, and Safe

Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat: Essential Tips for Dog and Cat Owners

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Written by The Editorial Board


As summer temperatures soar, it's essential to ensure our furry companions stay safe and comfortable. At COTA Veterinary, we understand that while summer offers many opportunities for outdoor fun, it also presents significant risks for dogs and cats. Here’s how you can help your pets enjoy the season while avoiding the dangers of heat.

The Risks of Summer Heat for Pets

Pets are more vulnerable to heat-related issues because they cannot regulate their body temperature as effectively as humans. Dogs and cats primarily cool off through panting and their limited sweat glands, mainly located in their paws. When temperatures rise, they can quickly overheat, leading to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke, which can be life-threatening.

Signs of Heat Stress in Pets

Recognizing the symptoms of heat stress is crucial for preventing serious health issues. Be alert for:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • High body temperature (above 104°F)

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Cool

1. **Ensure Ample Hydration**

Always have fresh, cool water available for your pets. Consider adding ice cubes to their water bowls during the hottest times of the day.

2. **Modify Exercise Routines**

Avoid vigorous exercise during peak heat hours (10 AM - 4 PM). Opt for early morning or late evening walks when the temperatures are lower.

3. **Provide Shade and Shelter**

Make sure your pets have access to shaded areas if they’re outside. Never leave your pets in a parked car, even for a short time, as temperatures can rise dramatically.

4. **Use Cooling Methods**

Offer cooling mats or damp towels for your pets to lie on. Utilize fans or air conditioning to maintain a cool indoor environment.

5. **Maintain Proper Grooming**

Regular grooming helps prevent matting, which can trap heat. For dogs with thicker coats, consider a trim but avoid shaving them completely, as their fur offers some protection from the sun.

6. **Protect Paws from Hot Surfaces**

Surfaces like pavements and sand can become extremely hot and burn your pet’s paws. Test surfaces with your hand; if it's too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.

Special Considerations for Cats

While cats often find cool spots to lounge, they can still overheat. Ensure indoor cats have access to cool, shaded areas. For outdoor cats, provide plenty of fresh water and shaded shelters. Be mindful of signs of heat stress, as cats may try to hide their discomfort.

What to Do in an Emergency

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, act quickly:

  • Move them to a cool, shaded area.
  • Wet them with cool (not cold) water.
  • Use fans or air conditioning to help lower their body temperature.
  • Offer small amounts of water to drink.
  • Contact COTA Veterinary or an emergency vet immediately.


By taking these precautions, you can help your pets enjoy a safe and happy summer. At COTA Veterinary, we are committed to the well-being of your furry family members. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health during the hot months, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Let’s make this summer a fun and safe season for everyone!

**Stay cool and stay safe!**

**The COTA Veterinary Team**