Warm weather pet safety

Client handout


Available for download exclusively by AVMA members in full color and in black and white.

You might know that cold weather poses health risks to your pets, but so does warm weather – even on days that don’t seem that hot to you. Knowing the risks and being prepared can help keep your pet safe.

Be prepared

  • Talk to your veterinarian about warm weather risks for pets (and travel safety if you plan to travel with a pet).

  • Make sure your pets have unlimited access to fresh water, and access to shade when outside.

  • Keep your pet free of parasites that are more common during warm weather, such as fleas, ticks and heartworm.

  • Ask your veterinarian how to recognize signs of heat stress.

Keep pets at home

  • Leave your pets at home if possible when you need to go out and about.

  • Provide different temperature zones within your house for your pet’s comfort.

  • Never leave a pet in the car, even in the shade or with windows cracked. Cars can overheat quickly to deadly temperatures, even when the weather isn’t severe.

Keep them comfortable

  • If it’s hot outside for you, it’s even hotter for your pet.

  • Take walks, hikes or runs during the cooler hours of the day.

  • Avoid hot surfaces, such as asphalt, that can burn your pet’s paws.

  • Ask your veterinarian if your pet would benefit from a warm-weather haircut or other protection.

Exercising with your pet

  • Consult your veterinarian prior to starting an exercise program for your pet. Overweight pets and short-nosed dog breeds have higher risk of problems with warm-weather exercise.

  • Don’t walk, run or hike with a dog during the hottest parts of the day or on particularly warm days.

  • Take frequent breaks.

  • Bring enough water for both you and your pet.

Garden and yard safety

  • Make sure the plants in your garden and yard are safe for pets.

  • Store lawn fertilizer and insecticides out of reach of your pets.

  • Always follow safety instructions on lawn and garden products, particularly the instructions on how long you should keep pets out of the treated areas.

  • If you use a lawn service, make sure they are aware that you have pets.

  • Avoid using cocoa bean mulch, which contains the same pet toxin found in chocolate.

Signs of Heat Stress

Seek emergency veterinary care if you observe any of these signs:

  • Anxiousness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unsteadiness
  • Abnormal gum and tongue color
  • Collapse