7 Tips to Keep Your Pets Cool During Hot Weather

A dog sleeping with its head on a frozen water bottle.
(Image credit: rangsan lerkngam | Shutterstock)

Summer heat can be dangerous for pets, but there are a number of steps that owners can take to keep their pets safe when temperatures climb.

Just this week, 14 dogs were found dead in a truck in Ohio after the vehicle's air conditioning unit failed, according to the South Bend Tribune. The dogs' handler was in town for a dog show, and left the animals unattended in the truck for about 2 hours. The incident underscores the need for owners to pay careful attention to their pets during hot weather, said Genny Carlson, executive director of the Humane Society of St. Joseph County, which is investigating the case. [These 7 Foods Cause the Most Pet Deaths]

"This serves as a reminder for people with pets, children and elderly relatives that being in a car without proper ventilation or a working air conditioner can be dangerous, and to take the proper precautions," Carlson told the news outlet cleveland.com.

Here are tips for keeping pets safe this summer:

  • Don't leave animals unattended in a parked car. On an 85-degree day, temperatures inside a parked car can reach 120 degrees in 30 minutes, according to the Humane Society.
  • Try to bring pets inside, if possible. Don't leave them in sheds or garages, recommends the Government of Western Australia Department of Health, because these structures can become very hot inside.
  • If you do need to leave your pets outside, make sure that they have plenty of cold water and shady spots in which to rest, such as under trees or tarps.
  • Be careful about taking your dog for a walk on a hot day. If you do walk your pet on a hot day, it's best to go in the early morning or evening, according to the Humane Society. You should also walk your dog on grass, because hot asphalt can burn their paws.
  • Dog owners should be particularly careful about taking certain breeds out in the heat. Flat-faced dogs, such as Pugs and English Bulldogs, can overheat more easily because they can have trouble panting, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (SPCALA). And white-eared dogs may be at increased risk for skin cancer, the Humane Society said.
  • Put ice cubes in your pet's water, and keep the water out of the sun.
  • I tems such as a cooling body wrap, vest or mat can also help keep your pet cool outside, according to the Humane Society.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.