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Learn How to Protect Your Pets From the Heat

By Kristine McComis

Pets need to be protected from the heat during the dog-days of summer when the temperature soars sky high. On hot days, especially when the temperature goes above 85 to 90 degrees fahrenheit, pets should be housed inside in the air conditioning. If this is not possible, they should be provided with a cool, shady spot with plenty of water. Walks and play time outside should be shortened and be sure to bring along a bottle of water for your dog as well as yourself. Do not leave your pet outside unsupervised if there is no protection from the sun. When you run errands, please leave your pets at home. Even with the windows down, a car can heat to dangerous temperatures in just a few minutes, leading to heat stroke. Studies have shown that with an outside temperature of 90 degrees, the temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in 10 minutes even with the windows open slightly, which quickly becomes dangerous. Dogs and cats do not have sweat glands that human do, and their fur serves to trap heat. They attempt to lower their body temperature by panting heavily, which can lead to fluid loss and severe dehydration. The high body temperature, along with dehydration, can cause severe organ damage and even death. Therefore, never leave your pet in a parked car during the summer for any length of time.

Owners should be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion/ heat stroke:
Excessive panting
Bright red tongue, gums, or skin
Marked warmth of the skin
Thick, sticky saliva
Can progress to weakness, vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you see any of these symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately.

The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours, seven days a week for emergencies. 614-292-3551


About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State

Founded in 1885, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked fifth in the nation and includes more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Veterinary Preventive Medicine. The Veterinary Medical Center is one of the largest specialty referral centers in the world, with more than 35,000 farm, equine, and companion animal patients each year. A nationally-recognized ambulatory practice and teaching unit in Marysville, Ohio provides farm animal experience to every veterinary student, and the Food Animal Health Research Program in Wooster, OH focuses on detection, control, and prevention of disease. Located on the only campus in the country with a comprehensive medical center offering seven health sciences colleges, we admit up to 162 veterinary students per class, and offer a new comprehensive graduate program in Veterinary and Comparative Medicine as well as a unique Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health, in partnership with the College of Public Health.   


Last updated: 

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:39pm