Cars, Pets, and Heatstroke
"Is It Too Hot For Spot" Window Cling

Summer Safety Tips

Summer should be a fun time for all, but according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) preventable accidents are the number one cause of death of pre-senior dogs and cats. The approaching summer will present its’ own set of challenges.


1. Start with a hot, unattended grill.

2. Mix in meat of your choice.

3. Add the family dog.

Grills are very hot! Furthermore, cooked bones are not an appropriate treat. They can splinter causing intestinal damage as well as present a choking hazard. Likewise, corncobs cause the same problems. You should be aware of the seasoning used on the leftovers you give your pets. For example, onion is poisonous.


Shells can cut and hot sand may burn pads. Provide fresh drinking water because salt water as well as discarded food will cause gastro-intestinal distress or worse!


More injuries and fatalities occur in the interior rather than the exterior of the vehicle. We have all seen what a pebble can do to a windshield. Imagine the damage that pebble could do the soft corneal tissue of an eye. Keep your pets’ head in the car. A kicked up object travels at twice the speed of the vehicle. Pet restraints are widely available. In the event of an accident, an unrestrained pet can face or cause serious injuries. Airbags deploy at more than 200mph. A pet in the front seat risks having its’ tongue amputated by a deployed airbag. They can bleed out in 20 minutes. EMS protocol is “people over pets”. They are equipped and have the option to put down your pet if your pet will not allow access to you. Do not put EMS in a position to make a decision regarding your pet. Cats should always be in carriers to prevent unauthorized escapes.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN YOUR CAR FOR ANY REASON. It doesn’t matter if you leave the A/C on, as it is a mechanical device. Mechanical devices are subject to breakdown. The interior temperature of a car in 78 degrees can reach 150 degrees in 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter if it is parked in the shade, the color of the car or if the windows are open or closed. It doesn’t matter because those factors are not influenced by the suns’ shortwave radiation. Rather, the interior components of the vehicle such as seats and dashboard are heated. They give off the long-wave radiation that heats the interior of the car. This could result in heatstroke. In turn, this could result in your pets’ death. I covered this topic in greater detail here.


Pool chemicals are caustic and can cause burns; make sure to store them properly. In addition, pets need an easy exit from the pool or onto a boat. There are ramps readily available designed specifically for this purpose. Life vests are lifesavers, but ensure it is a proper fit.


Vacationing and traveling with your pet can be a fun and relaxing experience if you plan and prepare first. A good resource is a book titled, “Let’s Go Fido’ or it’s companion webinar. The book is a 43-page guide to safe traveling vacationing and boarding your pet and can be sourced by contacting me directly. The half hour webinar is always available in the On Demand Library at


Pesticide and fertilizer applications are poisonous to your pet; either by absorption or ingestion. They should not have access to treated areas. Additionally, pest traps use very yummy stuff as bait. Remember, what poisons the pest will also poison the pets. Topical pesticide treatments should be species appropriate. This is a serious issue for cats and small mammals.

Many commercially prepared types of mulch are chemically treated and can pose a health risk for your pet. Furthermore, you should not use cocoa mulch in pet areas. Check with your local garden center or before planting shrubs and plants to check for their possible toxicity.

Familiarize yourself with local wildlife and the dangers they present to your pets. This includes coyotes, bats, snakes, insects etc.

Monitored, appropriately-sized treats and toys will prevent a choking hazard.

Hot pavement, like sand can burn pads. You can apply topical salves and ointments for protection. In addition, pets can sunburn. Make sure shade is always available, as pets can easily sunburn. Protect sensitive areas with appropriate sunscreen or clothing.

Preventing dehydration is as easy as always providing clean, fresh, cool water. Dehydration will lead to heatstroke in a very short period of time. The very young, elderly, immune suppressed, cats, and those dogs with pushed in faces such as Pugs and Shih Tzu’s are most susceptible. Do not allow pets to over exert themselves during the summer. I provide both cooling mats and cooling collars for my pets. 

Thunderstorms, lightening, and fireworks are frightening to some pets. Keep them indoors at such times. Check your electronic fences after a thunderstorm, as lightening can short-circuit a fence rendering it useless. There are products from such companies as Thundershirt, Happy Hoodies, flower essences from Alaskan Essences, herbal products from Herbsnmith Inc, botanicals from Earth Heart Inc, and essential oil products from Aroma Dog/Aroma Cat that may help. Use caution when using these products on cats. Look for the cat safe label.

Even though you have done your best to provide a safe environment for your pet, accidents can and do happen. The AAHA states that 25% more pets could have been saved if only one pet first aid technique was applied prior to veterinary treatment. Do you know what to do in an emergency? Do you know where the nearest animal emergency HOSPITAL is? Have you prepared yourself by taking a pet first aid class? To locate an instructor near you, contact me at [email protected]

Your pet would do it all for you.



The first aid kit for the home should be in a clean, large container that is simple to open and easy to transport. If it is too bulky or too hard to open, it could be detrimental if a significant injury occurs. By having it be large and roomy, it is easy for supplies to be found in haste.

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Don't forget to groom. Protect your dog from the sun by keeping him well groomed. This will help him to be more comfortable and insulated from the heat. Dogs with thick hair should have it trimmed regularly during the summer.

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