Help Fido weather the heat and humidity

A. Y. Owen/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Never Leave Pets in a Car

Not even for a minute. Not even with the engine running and air conditioner on high. The temperature in a vehicle can rise to a dangerous level very quickly.

Adjust Exercise Schedules

Take them out in the early-morning or evening hours when the heat is not as excessive. Be extra careful with pets that have white ears and faces (as they're more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer) and short-nosed breeds such as pugs and bulldogs (which typically have difficulty breathing). Hot pavement can burn tender paws, so walk on the grass if possible. Don't allow them to drink from puddles, which may contain harmful chemicals like antifreeze. Instead, bring along your own water.

Heed the Humidity

Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their bodies. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their body temperatures will skyrocket to dangerous levels. Be mindful of those days that have a humidity level that's through the roof, even if it doesn't feel too hot.

Provide Shade and Water

Any time pets are outside, make sure they're protected from heat and sun and have a fresh supply of water. Many animals won't drink warm water, so check often to make sure it's cool. A doghouse doesn't provide relief from heat—in fact, it can make it worse because the walls hinder airflow. Tree shade, tarps, and run-in sheds offer the ideal coverage because they don't obstruct breezes.

WATCH: Things All Southerners Say When It's Hot

Prevent the Burn

Some dogs, especially short-coated and light-haired breeds, can be susceptible to sunburn. Areas of the body that have little hair coverage (like the ears, nose, and abdomen) may be particularly vulnerable. Pet-specific brands of sunscreen are available, but many products made for humans are okay for pets—except ones containing zinc oxide, which is toxic if ingested. Be sure to read product labels carefully before applying. Shaving animals doesn't really lower their body temperatures and actually makes them more likely to get sunburned. However, it's easier to clean sand off dogs with closely cropped coats.

Help Them Chill Out

Your pet needs to stay cool too. Simply wet this Kurgo Dog Core Cooling Vest and strap it on—the evaporation will heat.

Hector Manuel Sanchez
Advertisement