Extreme temperatures and booming sounds can have big impacts on pets. With record-breaking heat across much of the nation, the Niagara County Veterinary Society warns pet parents that heat stroke can occur quickly in dogs. Without the ability to sweat the same way humans do, it’s important for pet parents to understand ways to cool their pets down when temperatures rise to avoid common mistakes and keep their pets safe.

Just because humans can manage the heat and humidity, doesn’t mean pets can. Pets are vulnerable to temperatures over 80o F; however, there are ways to keep them safe and protected from heat-related injuries.

  • Limit time outdoors: While outdoor activities are typically recommended for pets, their inability to sweat as humans do can cause them to overheat quickly. Limit walks to early morning or after the sun sets, and stay indoors as much as possible the rest of the day.
  • Fill their water bowls: Like humans, clean water is essential for helping pets manage the heat. Cool water helps cool down your pet’s body temperature.
  • Avoid shaving your pet: While summer cuts for long-haired dogs are OK, shaving your pet can expose their skin to harmful sun damage and cause them to rapidly overheat.

The Niagara County Veterinary Society recommends that pet parents educate themselves on how to recognize heat stroke. Heavy panting, drooling, high body temperature, increased heart rate, and fatigue are some signs of heat stroke in dogs. If you think your dog is experiencing heat stroke, bring them idoors immediately to cool down. Do not put your pet in an ice cold bath, as it could shock their system. Instead, soak a towel in room temperature water and wipe your dog down to start the cooling process, and then proceed immediately to your primary care veterinarian or closest emergency vet clinic.

Booming sounds can send some pets into sensory overdrive. With an elevated ability to interpret sound frequencies audibly and physically, dogs’ sensitivities to loud noises means that loud noises from thunderstorms, which are common in summer, can make them particularly anxious. While some dogs hide under beds or jump fences to flee the sounds, there are ways to help your pet feel less stressed.

  • Create a calm environment: Create a space to help your dog deal with the noise. A sound machine or lavender oil on his or her collar and blankets can help.
  • Remain indoors: Neither you nor your dog should be outside during a thunderstorm.
  • Stay Close: Pets feel less anxious when they feel safe. Make sure you or someone they feel safe with is by their side until the thunderstorm is over, offering comfort, treats, and affection throughout the event.

The Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society is comprised of more than 75 small animal hospitals and more than 200 practitioners in Erie and Niagara counties. It exists to advance public awareness and understanding of appropriate and compassionate pet health care, veterinary services, and the veterinary profession.