Heat Safety for Pets

Let’s face it. Texas is very hot in the summer (and can be year round). Just walking to the mailbox in the summer heat can make you drenched with sweat. We all love spending the long, summer days outdoors with our furry companions, but if our pets are out in hot weather for a long amount of time they could suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburns. Being exposed to excessive heat can be dangerous and potentially deadly on those summer days approaching 100 degrees. Summer in Texas won’t start until June 20, but now is the time to start prepping for pet safety during those tough extreme heat days. It’s important to realize and be knowledgeable of how you can keep your pets safe in the summer from brutal heat.

Here are some simple tips to keep your pets safe in the extreme heat.

Keep pets inside with AC

While pet owners are at work, our fury friends are usually left alone at home. It may be unimaginable but some people don’t have the proper AC. Dogs and cats can experience heat cramps, stress and exhaustion when exposed to high levels of heat. Having the proper cooling system in your home can help cool down yourself and your pets. If you have ever noticed, dogs and cats like to lie on cool surfaces. The cool surfaces help their bodies sweat and release excessive heat through their footpads. If a cat or a dog is in a room for a long time without proper water and air, their body temperature will rise and they will possibly have a fever that they can’t control.

Limited exercise & shade

Our fury friends can get dehydrated faster than humans. Pets need plenty of fresh water and a shady place to get out of the hot sun. Also be careful to limit the amount of exercise they get. Going for shorter runs and walks with your dogs will help them adapt to the hot pavement and ground. Cats and dogs footpads can easily get burned – so be mindful to when your pets give you signs to come inside.

Never leave your pet in a parked car

This is the number one pet safety rule. Don’t be that pet owner to leave your beloved pet in a hot, parked car with or without the windows rolled up. Either way it can be deadly. Just for some perspective, an average day in Texas can be from 80-90 degrees in the summer, which means that the inside of a car can reach 120 degrees within a 30-minute range. Would you like to be in a car that is 120 degrees? I don’t think so. Can you imagine being a dog or cat stuck in a car helpless with no way to cool off? It sounds like torture. If you make a mistake and forget your pet in your car while you run errands, your pet could suffer from organ failure, heatstroke or death. Keep in mind that unlike humans, pets do not cool off the same way that humans do.

Observe your pet’s symptoms in extreme heat

Your pet could suffer from heat stress or even a heatstroke in extreme heat conditions. There are a number of ways to identify if your pet is having a heatstroke. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as excessive body temperature, vomit, bloody stools, excessive panting and salivation.

  • Heat stress
    • If you think your pet is suffering from heat stress, these are some symptoms to look out for.
      • Panting
      • Drooling
      • Excessive grooming and restlessness
      • Elevated rectal temperature
  • Heatstroke
    • If you think your pet is suffering from a heatstroke, these are some symptoms to look out for.
      • Panting
      • Dehydration
      • Excessive drooling
      • Increased body temperature
      • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
      • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
      • Rapid heart rate

A good rule of thumb is to always leave on the AC for your fury friend at all times! Don’t forget to value pet safety. Your dogs and cats will love you for it.


Ben Hubbert is a retired Combat Controller with the United States Air Force. He started Champion AC in 2007. Ben is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is happily married and an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Saints.