Some Like It Hot…But Many Pets Do Not!

By Dr. Matt Schmitt
South Reno Veterinary Hospital
June 2015
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Schmitt

With advancing temperatures, it’s time to think about how to keep pets comfortable as the mercury rises. Remember, they still have to live in their fur coats!  Hot weather can be uncomfortable, and even dangerous, for pets.

Time to Trim
One of the first and easiest steps to warm weather comfort is a good trim that includes around the ears and between the toes.  Fur is not only a heat source, but also grabs onto stray material during summer outings. Be especially mindful of foxtails, sharp shrubs and cacti, and gravel surfaces.

Plan Walks for Cooler Times of Day
Walk early in the day and later in the evening, avoiding hot midday sun that can lead to exhaustion and circulatory complications.  Adjust duration and intensity of exercise as needed, and always carry water. Walk on soft surfaces, avoiding hot asphalt and concrete that can burn paw pads.

Watch for Overheating
Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and breathing rate, drooling, lethargy and even collapsing.  Time to take it easy!

Swim Safely
The river can look inviting, but be mindful of currents, floating debris and rocks.  If your pet is a swimmer, be alert for trapped water in the ears that can be a breeding ground for bacteria and infections. Watch for scratching, head shaking and unusual buildup in ears after water contact.

When Nature Attacks
If you notice any swelling of the face with no apparent cause, chances are your pet has been stung or bitten by anything from an insect to a snake.  This condition should be quickly examined, as swelling can spread to other vital parts of the body, like the larynx, which can cause breathing difficulties.  Bear in mind that home remedies such as Tylenol and Advil are toxic to pets.

Never Leave Pets in a Parked CarHot Car Temp Graphic
It’s easy to underestimate how quickly car temperatures can rise to dangerous levels.

In just minutes, enclosed pets can suffer irreversible organ damage due to suffocating temperatures.   Show chart with outside temps next to inside car temps.

Make a Cool Treat
Try making Peanut Butter Pops with peanut butter, banana and water.  Mix together and freeze in an ice cube tray lined with wax paper.  Cool!

These tips, along with providing pets plenty of shade and water while lounging in the yard, will help keep Summer Fun Time Summer Safe Time!

Matt Schmitt VMD Photo

Dr. Matt Schmitt is a graduate of The School of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania and owns South Reno Veterinary Hospital.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling (775) 852-2244. Dr. Schmitt is also On Call for After Hours Emergencies and is available for House Calls.

Learn more at

This entry was posted in Heat and Pets, Pet Tips, Reno Pets, South Reno Veterinary Hospital and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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