All About Pets: Keeping pets safe in summer heat


Kellie Welty
Pet Columnist, The Friday Flyer

We have been experiencing very hot weather this summer season, even hotter weather is expected in August and September.

When it’s warm, we humans find many ways to cool down. We stay indoors (with the air on), we swim, go to the movies or the malls (air conditioned) and we limit our physical activities. Sadly, our pets do not have the same option, they are at our mercy and all too often overlooked. Dogs are often left outside with minimal shade and forced to go on walks when the asphalt can reach temperatures greater than 140 degrees.

The majority of dog owners love their dogs and do not mean to cause them any harm, but some owners inadvertenly have their dog’s water in stainless steel bowls outside in the sun. When left in the sun, the water can reach temperatures in excess of 110 degrees.

In the Inland Empire, we are dealing with more extreme weather conditions than Orange County or San Diego County (which is where many of us came from). Without even realizing it, we often just continue with our normal routines. Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, however, require a few modifications.

Please never leave your beloved pet in the car. Even on an 85 degrees day. A car with the window cracked can reach an internal temperature of 102 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 20 minutes. If you see a dog in a hot car, do the following:

  1. Record the vehicle information.
  2. If at a place of business, alert management.
  3. Call animal control.
  4. If possible, stay with the dog until help arrives.

Most people who leave their pet in their vehicle don’t mean to cause them any harm. They normally intend on running into the store for just a few minutes to pick up a prescription or a single item from the grocery store. They don’t realize how disaster can strike in a matter of minutes.

On a final note, please do not walk your pet in the middle of the day. Early morning or evening walks are best. When it’s 99 degrees on the grass, the concrete is 132 degrees and the asphalt can reach as high as 141 degrees.

A dog can get first degree burns on its paws at 118 degrees.

It is best on hot days to bring your pets inside the house where they will be cooler.

If they must be outside, make sure they have plenty of shade and several sources of water.

Being just a little more aware of how the heat affects our animals will make a much more comfortable summer for everyone. Your pet will thank you too.