The dog days of summer traditionally bring excessive heat and humidity putting both humans and pets at risk. Keep reading to learn how to protect your pets from overheating.

During the dog days of summer (usually from July to September depending on weather patterns), temperatures and humidity soar in the Northern Hemisphere. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are potential dangers during this time frame. It is critical for pet owners to proactively watch for any signs of overheated pets and keep them as cool as possible throughout the summer.


Any Animal Is Susceptible to Overheating

It is important to remember any pet can get too hot; even those inside your home. Preventing an overheated pet is always the best option for your pet’s overall health and well-being. Also, keep in mind that “hot” is probably already too hot for your pet! Often, what is “mild” to humans, is already approaching unsafe temperatures for our pets.

Temperatures over 70 degrees F (21 C) can lead to overheating

Make sure your pet has shelter away from the sun, good air circulation, fresh, cool water, and even air conditioning during the hotter and/or more humid days. Dogs to cats, rabbits to hamsters, and even horses can be dramatically affected by the heat. When humidity is also factored in, the overall heat index (how hot it really feels with the added dampness or mugginess) can soar to dangerous – even deadly – levels.

Pet Overheating: General Signs & Symptoms
  • Heavy, excessive panting
  • Drooling or slobbering
  •  Increased heart rate and pulse
  •  Dry, pale, and sticky gums and bright red tongue
  • Glassy, sunken, or dry eyes
  • Weakness, confusion, disorientation, staggering, and even collapse
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and rectal bleeding, seizures
  • Rabbits: Red, enlarged veins, inflamed footpads, wetness around – or under – the nostrils, fast, shallow breathing, or even gasping
  • Horses: More than 40-50 breaths/minute in an inactive horse (normal is 8-16 breaths/minute), profuse sweating or none at all, flanks are caved inward
  • Hamsters: According to, hamsters do not have sweat glands and are easily prone to heat stress with a bright red tongue, depression, stress, and even convulsions
5 Tips to Properly Cool Down an Overheated Pet

Even our best intentions sometimes fail and our pets become overheated. What should
you do if it happens to your pet?

  •  Immediately remove your pet from the heat and put them in a cooler,
    shaded place.
  • NEVER submerge an overheated animal in cold water! Dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs have been known to die from the extreme shock to their overheated body because it exacerbates the issue.
  • Add ice cubes to their water dish and encourage them to drink to help cool them down.
  •  Mist, gradually hose down your pet or wipe them with cool wet (but not dripping) towels to slowly and safely cool down their body.
  • If these measures do not stop the symptoms of overheating or your pet is still not acting like himself, call your vet for professional advice and recommended next steps to protect your pet’s overall health and prevent negative long-term
Too hot outside for your pet?
Playtime in an air-conditioned home is a great idea to keep your pets happy both physically and mentally.

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