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Keep pets safe, prevent overheating in warmer months

SAN DIEGO – While we're in the middle of May, gray hotter days are just around the corner. San Diego Humane Society is sharing important reminders for pet owners about how to keep their animals safe when it is hot outside.

Too often the organization witnesses animals who are without shelter from the sun, exercised too hard in the heat, or left in cars that can become fatally hot in minutes. In 2022 alone, San Diego Humane Society's Humane Law Enforcement responded to more than 400 calls about animals trapped inside cars on hot days.

"As pet owners, it is our responsibility to make sure our animals stay safe and have a cool place to rest when it is hot outside," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. "Don't take them with you, unless you can ensure that they will be safe and won't overheat while you are out."

Ten tips to keep animals safe during hot weather:

1. Always provide plenty of cool, clean water.

2. Leave pets at home as much as possible. You may think they'll be lonely, but they'll be much more comfortable in your cool home than outside on hot pavement or riding in a hot car.

3. If you must take them along for the ride, never leave them alone in a parked vehicle. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside your car will quickly climb to 120 degrees, even with the windows down. Tragically, this can become fatal for pets quickly and it's a situation that's fully preventable.

4. If you see pets inside a parked car on a hot day and they appear to be struggling, please call San Diego Humane Society at 619-299-7012 (press 1 for Dispatch) or your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

5. Animals' paws are sensitive. If they stand on hot pavement their paws will burn in as quickly as seven seconds. If the temperature is in the upper 80s, the pavement can be 150 degrees. Bring along a towel or blanket for them to rest on, giving their pads a break from the heat. Be sure to allow for plenty of breaks and find shady spots to cool off.

6. Never force your pets to exercise in hot humid weather. Exercise them in the cool of the early morning or evening. Never run dogs next to a bike during the heat. In addition to the hot air, hot pavement increases the risk for heat stroke.

7. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red tongue. If you believe your pets are suffering from heat exhaustion, contact your veterinarian right away, it could save their lives.

8. They can get sunburned too. Don't forget to protect hairless and light-coated animals with sunscreen.

9. Always provide plenty of shade for pets staying outside the house. Bring them inside during the heat of the day and let them rest in a cool area. If you take them to the beach or park, make sure you can provide a shaded spot for resting.

10. Livestock need a reprieve from the sun and heat too. Always provide ample shade and a continuous supply of cool clean water. Water is very important, allowing animals' bodies to cool off and stay cool.

For more heat safety tips, visit

Submitted by San Diego Humane Society.


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