Summertime Pet Safety Tips

There’s no question that we’re in the middle of summer!  It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors, especially when we share the experience with our four-legged friends. However, there are a few precautions we need to take that will ensure our pets stay safe and comfortable in the heat. 


  • Make sure your pet has plenty of cold water available inside and outside your home. Add ice to the water and change it frequently.
  • Refreshing treats for your dog are beef broth ice cubes. Rinse them first before giving them to your pet, so that they don’t stick to your
    dog’s tongue.
  • Bring water for you and your pet when you’re on the go.

Cooling Off

  • If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, make sure there is an oscillating fan to help cool down the temperature. Many pets enjoy lying on their backs in front of a fan to cool off.
  • Keep your pet’s coat brushed to get rid of excess fur.
  • Be sure your pet has a shady spot to rest in while it’s outside.
  • Overweight animals and those with flat faces such as Persian and Himalayan cats, bulldogs, pugs and boxers are at greater risk for overheating. If you suspect your pet is overheated, get it to your vet right away.
  • Provide a wading pool for dogs to cool off. However, make sure your dog can swim, especially if it is near a swimming pool. Some breeds, like the French Bulldog, will sink instead of swim!  
  • Use a cool (not ice cold), wet washrag to wipe the undercarriage of your pet. Even cats quickly learn that they will feel better, despite having their fur dampened by the water. (But don’t douse them all over with water. It offends their kitty dignity.)

Traveling with Pets

  • Try to walk your dog on grass. If you have to walk your dog on hot sidewalks, get paw booties designed to keep your pet’s paw pads from getting burned.
  • If you can’t put your hand or bare feet on the bed of your pickup truck, it’s too hot for your dog too. The hot metal will make his paws burn and blister. Keep him secured safely in the cab with you.
  • Pets should wear ID tags at all times, especially when traveling
  • At the beach, watch your dog to make sure it doesn’t eat anything off the sand or from garbage cans (tails are okay).
  • Beaches often have harsh, direct sunlight and hot sand. Shade is not always available, so bring a beach umbrella or collapsible tent for relief.
  • Remember to bring water for both you and your pet.

Although it is not currently against the law in Oregon or Washington to drive with your pet on your lap, it is still a risky, ill-advised practice. For one thing, it leads to distracted driving. Your pet will be safer in its carrier or in a harness. 

Another problem for dogs is allowing them to hang their heads out the window or to roam in the back of a truck. The high velocity of airflow is harmful to their lungs, and many dogs are hurt by flying objects. Also, pets can jump or be thrown out of car windows into a street full of traffic, especially if you are involved in an accident.   

Please keep your pets safely secured in their carriers or a harness.

Oregon and many other states require health certificates for your pet, even if you’re just driving through the state. Check with your vet or go to the  U.S. Department of Agriculture website for details on health certificates and vaccinations required. The website also gives information about traveling with your pet to a foreign country.

More Pet Travel Tips

  • Put together a pet first aid kit and bring it with you when you travel. Include any special medications for your pet, along with a favorite toy and treats. Keep a blanket handy for your pet’s comfort.
  • Never leave your pets or children in a parked car, even if you crack a window and think you’ll only be gone “for a second.” The temperature rises quickly and turns deadly fast.

Pet First Aid

  • Take a pet CPR course. The Red Cross offers a Pet First Aid App that you can download for free.
  • Check with your vet for the best flea remedies. Aside from the aggravation fleas create, they also cause tapeworms after your pets ingest them when they groom themselves.
  • For bee stings, ant bites and other types of bug bites, Benadryl can provide relief. Your vet can advise you on whether it is safe for your pet and if so, the correct dosage. If there are any signs of a reaction, especially facial swelling, get your pet to the vet right away.

The Red Cross wishes you and your pets a safe and happy summer!

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