Summer Safety for Pets  

Summer Safety for Pets  

Every year during the summer months, the OHS gets hundreds of complaints relating to animals and hot weather. Dogs left unattended in parked cars top the list, followed closely by dogs left outside in the sun without water and shade.

Dogs cannot sweat, therefore if they are left for even a short period of time in a car (windows open or not), their lives could be in danger. With their body temperature normally at 39 C, a dog can only endure temperatures barely over 40 C for a very short time before they suffer from heat-stress, irreparable brain damage or death. Please call Ottawa Police at 911 if you see a dog in a car on a hot day.

Here are a few other tips to keep your companion animals safe this summer.

  • If your pet spends lots of time outdoors, make sure there is adequate shelter for protection from the sun/heat. Outside kennels need to be well-ventilated and situated in shaded areas. Clean, fresh water must be accessible at all times.
  • On hotter days, monitor your pet’s activity and be careful to not over exert them. Watch for signs of heat stress, excessive panting, disorientation, staring or anxious expression and weakness. Bring your pet to a cool area, gradually lower your pet’s temperature by immersing his paws in cold water or hosing him down and call your veterinarian immediately.
  • When the heat and humidity rise, be especially careful with short-nosed dogs (pugs, bulldogs, etc.) and older animals. Exercise your pets in the early morning or late evening to avoid the midday heat.
  • In summer, asphalt can burn your pet’s paws – keep to the sidewalk or grass.
  • Shaving a hairy pet for the summer may seem like a good idea, but they can actually get a sunburn. Shave your pet at the beginning of the summer before it gets too hot.
  • In summer, mosquitoes are out in full force. Heartworm prevention medication is recommended and available. See your veterinarian for details.
  • Flea and tick prevention is important. See your veterinarian for more information.
  • When you take your dog out for exercise, bring a portable water container for the both of you.
  • Water should be refreshed/changed often, and the bowl should be kept in a cool shaded area.
  • Read our Biking With Dogs – Be Safe! tip sheet.

More pet tips