The heat and humidity took us by surprise this year, with temperatures predicted to hit the 90's today! As important as it is for you to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and limit outdoor activity today, it's also important to make sure your pets are safe this summer.

The ASPCA has some great summertime safety tips on its website!

  • Most important is to make sure your pet has plenty of cool water to drink. If you're leaving the water outside, make sure it's in the shade, so it doesn't heat up. And check it often to make sure there's still water in the bowl.
  • Now is the perfect time to visit the vet, if you haven't in a while. Make sure your pet is protected against heartworm. Discuss with your vet the best flea and tick plan for the summer. I can tell you firsthand, there are a LOT of ticks this year!
  • Watch for signs of dehydration in your pet. (just because the water is there doesn't necessarily mean they're drinking enough of it) Make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun when they're outside. Don't over-exercise them when it's hot. And if it's really hot (like today), keep them inside, out of the sun.
  • Symptoms of  overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never, ever leave your pets alone in a parked car. It takes no time at all for your car to become a furnace on a hot day, even with the windows cracked. Don't believe me? Go outside today and sit in your car for five minutes, with the windows cracked. I'll bet you don't last the full five before you're opening the window or getting out. Pets don't have that option. It's extremely dangerous! As a side note, you'll get in trouble with the cops, so just leave the pets at home.
  • If you have a long-haired dog, it's okay to trim their hair a bit to help them keep cool. But never, ever shave your dog. That hair is their best defense against sunburn and overheating. Brushing a long-haired cat more often than usual can help prevent overheating. And make sure any insect repellent or sunscreen you use is safe for pets.
  • If you're going to take your pet for a walk, encourage them to walk on the grass, not on the hot pavement. Too long on hot asphalt can speed overheating and can burn sensitive pads on their paws.