how to keep pets safe in summer is pretty simple

14 Top Tips to Keep Your Fur Kid Safe this Summer


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Hot summer days might be the stuff of postcards, but they can be hard on animals. Fur babies can’t just grab an icy cold drink, a pair of sunnies and head off for a swim on their own. That’s why, as a responsible pet parent, it’s crucial to know how to keep pets safe in summer. You’re at the helm of their health because they can’t be.

Pets feel the summer heat just like we do, sometimes even more so. Given they rely on us to take care of them, it’s important to understand how their needs change in the warmer months. So, over to you!

Here are some vital cat and dog summer safety tips for your fur family.

A dog sitting on the beach at sunset, while ensuring its safety during summer.

Worthwhile ways to protect your pet in summer

Our beloved pets can have a seriously challenging time in the blistering heat. Too many dogs, cats and other critters are taken to vets in the warmer months with easily avoidable, heat-related injuries and illness.

Here are 14 thirst-quenching tips on how to keep your pets safe and cool in summer.

1. How to keep pets safe in summer – Know heat stroke

The best thing you can do for your pet this summer is to understand heat stroke in pets. It’s a serious condition where their body temperature gets dangerously high due to overheating. It can happen when they can’t cool down properly, often in hot weather and/or when left in a parked car.

When humans get hot, we sweat to help regulate our temperatures. But dogs and cats don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies like we do. Instead, they have them only on their paws and their noses. This means when it gets hot your dog or cat can’t sweat to cool themselves down.

So, they’re more susceptible to heat stroke than we are.

They can get it if they’re exercising too much in the heat, stuck in a hot car, or even just lying in the sun for too long. Watch out for signs like excessive panting, drooling, and weakness, and if you suspect heat stroke, seek immediate veterinary help – as it can be fatal.

2. How to keep pets safe in summerGive adequate shade

Your pet should have access to solid shade for the entirety of the day, so they can escape the heat when they choose to. Be mindful of structures like pet runs and catios that end up in the sun or on the edge of its path for part of the day as the sun moves.

It doesn’t take long for an animal to overheat, especially smaller species like birds and rabbits.

A cat drinking from a water bowl on a tiled floor, showcasing summer safety tips for pets.

3. How to keep pets safe in summer – Water everywhere

Giving daily access to fresh water is important year-round, but especially so on hot days. Having multiple sources of fresh, cool water means that if one source gets spilled, there’s still water available.

Consider investing in an automatic refilling water bowl that connects to your laundry or outdoor tap so it stays full all the time.

4. How to keep pets safe in summer – Don’t exercise in heat

On warmer days, keep pets safe in summer by avoiding walking or playing with them during the hottest part of the day.

Opt for early morning or late in the evening instead, and always check the surface temperature of the road or path first. If it’d hurt your bare feet, it’ll hurt theirs. Walk dogs on grass instead of hard surfaces and be aware of how hot sand can get.

If it’s over 30°C, don’t walk your dog at all. They are better off skipping a day’s exercise or simply running around in the shady backyard than facing extreme heat and exposure.

pet safety in summer is on the mind of this girl in a yellow hat playing with her dog in the shade because she knows how to keep pets safe in summer

5. How to keep pets safe in summer – Bring pets inside

When it’s stinking hot outside, chances are you’ll want to be inside away from the sun, ideally with the air conditioner on. Your pet will benefit greatly from this, too.

If your critter isn’t house trained, consider keeping them in a well-ventilated cool spot like the laundry or bathroom, where they can spread out on cool tiles. Alternatively, put them in a crate or pen in the coolest part of the house.

Turn the air conditioner on for them, even if you’re not home… after all, they deserve the same as the rest of the family, right? Check out some great tips from Dr Cath Watson in our PD Pet Care Vlog:

6. How to keep pets safe in summer – Ice cubes and packs

In summer, ice is a friend to your pet! Place ice cubes in their water bowl for a cool drink.

An ice pack wrapped in a tea towel placed in an animal’s bed is an effective way to help them stay cool, too. Until it melts, of course. This technique is great for dogs, cats and rabbits, among others.

7. How to keep pets safe in summer – Wet them down

As mentioned, pets don’t sweat through their skin in the same way we humans do. Wetting them down helps to keep them cool, especially their feet, neck and tummy.

For dogs and cats who like water (yes, some cats do!), consider investing in a kids’ clam shell-style wading pool. Place it in the shade in the yard so they can splash around as they please. Ensure small breeds can exit the shell on their own before leaving them unsupervised, and never leave kids unsupervised around water.

Be sure to tip out the water before evening so other animals don’t fall in and drown.

A cat lounging in a swimming pool.

8. How to keep pets safe in summer – Cooling mats and vests

A pet cooling mat is filled with a special gel that cools your dog’s and cat’s skin when they lie on it. Good quality pet cooling mats are made from heavy duty material so their claws can’t tear them.

Dog cooling vests are another option and may even be the height of canine summer fashion. Fresh in more ways than one, they’re made from a special fabric that’s cool to touch when wet.  

9. How to keep pets safe in summer – Do flea + tick treatments

Another cat and dog summer safety tip is to keep them free of parasites. Those pesky fleas (super common in New Zealand) and ticks (not so much) are more active in the warmer months. So, it’s important to keep pets up to date with their treatments. Set a reminder in your phone when treatments are due so you don’t forget. 

Read more about flea treatment in NZ.

10. How to keep pets safe in summer – Sunscreen for pets

Pets with white fur or limited fur on their noses and ears are susceptible to sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer (yes, cats and dogs can get sunburn). This is another great reason to ensure they’re out of the sun during the middle of the day.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a specialty pet sunscreen to protect them in the warmer months when the sun is at its strongest.

dogs in hot cars, like this poodle looking out the window, can die quickly

11. How to keep pets safe in summer – Say no to hot cars

A vital part of keeping pets safe in summer is to never leave them in a car, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Temperatures can climb very quickly in a car and heat stroke can happen far too fast (it’s true – read all about dogs in hot cars).

Similarly, be careful transporting dogs on ute trays in summer because the tray surface can get very hot and burn their feet. If you do pop your dog in the ute tray, be sure it’s strapped in properly. Check out our tips on pet safety while driving so this kind of accident doesn’t happen.

12. How to keep pets safe in summer – Take care with storms and fireworks

Warmer weather can mean more thunderstorms and more human revelry that involves fireworks. Many dogs, cats and other pets are phobic of both and can seriously injure themselves while in a panicked state during these events.

We have tips for pet safety during fireworks – here. These include keeping them in a quiet part of the house (which can comfort some pets and prevent them from injuring themselves), if using a crate ensuring it’s a plastic airline-style crate (so they can’t get their limbs stuck in wire) and making sure they have access to water.

Sadly, sometimes pets go missing in thunderstorms. If that happens to you, find out how to find lost pets.

A woman is walking her dog on the beach at sunset, ensuring it remains safe in the summer heat.

13. How to keep pets safe in summer – Prepare for bushfires

If you live in an area at risk of bushfires (and floods, for that matter), knowing what to do during these fires is another important part of knowing how to keep pets safe in summer.

It’s important that you have a plan in place for the protection of your pets and livestock should fire pervade.

Get domestic pets off the property and to safety as early as possible. Move larger animals to safety if possible, planning transport and more than one escape route well ahead of time. If you can’t move livestock, ensure they have access to an open space with short grass and a water source where they can retreat if a fire approaches.

Read the government’s advice on how to protect animals in emergencies.

14. How to keep pets safe in summer – 100% water safety

Water and summer go hand in hand. But there are hazards to be aware of when you’re visiting all kinds of water sources. Check out our cat and dog summer safety tips for keeping your pet safe at the beach or lake and our guide for dog pool safety.

A cat and a dog enjoying the sunny summer day in the grass.

Protecting pets across alllll the seasons

Our pets really are completely reliant on us for their safety and protection. That’s why it’s so important to adapt your pet parenting techniques for the season and apply the cat and dog summer safety tips you’ve learned.

Another part of being a fabulous pet parent is making sure you and your pet are covered should they become injured or sick. At PD Insurance, we love pets (and summer!) as much as you do. That’s why we provide affordable pet plans to suit a range of budgets. Start your quote by clicking below.

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