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Hot Weather Tips for Taking Care of Pets

When temperatures and heat indices soar, pet owners are advised to take special precautions to keep pets safe. High temperatures can be deadly for pets left without a cool, shady place to rest and plenty of water.

• Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is more than 70 degrees.  When it’s 72 degrees outside, a car’s temperature can rocket to 116 degrees, even with the windows cracked. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 120 degrees in minutes. Leaving a pet in a hot, unattended car is inhumane, illegal and can cause severe injury or even death within minutes.

• Act immediately if you see a distressed animal in an unattended car.  Call the local police and the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Abuse Hotline 314-647-4400. A pet showing signs of distress such as heavy panting, unresponsive behavior, seizure or collapse needs immediate attention.

• Make certain outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times.  Secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can’t accidentally tip them over. Dig a small round hole and place the water bowls inside.

• Ensure your pet has access to shade at all times of the day.  Your dog might be in the shade when you leave for work, but the sunlight moves throughout the day. Don’t allow your pet to be stranded in the scorching sun.

• If you run or jog with your dog, take frequent water breaks for yourself and your dog.  Remember that asphalt and concrete get hot quickly. You have rubber soles on your feet, your dog does not. On hot days, leave your dog at home.

• Do not bicycle or rollerblade with a pet.  Heat stroke and possible death can occur very quickly, particularly in hot weather.

• When the weather is dangerously hot, keep pets inside.

• If your pet shows signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, vomiting, lethargic behavior), immediately apply cold water to your pet’s extremities. See your veterinarian quickly.

• During warm weather, mosquitoes are prevalent.  Make sure your pet is tested by a veterinarian for heartworm disease, which is mosquito-transmitted, and often fatal disease. Use heartworm prevention medication.

To report an animal in heat-related jeopardy, call Humane Society of Missouri Animal Abuse Hotline (314) 647-4400

For more information on how to care for pets during warm weather months, visit the Humane Society of Missouri website or e-mail