HOUSTON — It’s not even officially summer yet, but Houston’s heat and humidity sure feel like it.
With feels-like temperatures in the triple digits, the combination can be downright dangerous for people and pets.
Here are 11 important summer safety tips for pets:
1. Never leave your pet in the car. During warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in minutes. Even in the shade or with the windows cracked, pets can suffer heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage or even death.
2. Don’t leave pets outdoors alone in this heat. Cats and dogs can’t sweat like humans so it’s harder for them to cool off.
3. Vets say if your dog is panting heavily or drooling excessively, it could be overheated, and you should take them inside to cool off.
4. Signs of heat stroke also include glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, staggering, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.
5. Dogs showing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved indoors or to a shady area. Pour cool (not cold) water over their body. Encourage them to drink small amounts of water and/or lick ice cubes. Get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
6. Keep older dogs, short-nosed dogs and those with thicker, darker fur inside as much as possible, advises Rene Vasquez, Director of Fort Bend County Animal Services.
7. Take dogs on walks early and late and try to keep them on the grass whenever possible. The pavement could be hot enough to blister the bottom of your pet’s feet.
8. Pets can also get sunburned and skin cancer, especially if they have light-colored noses and light-colored fur on their ears, according to BARC in Houston.
9. It can be very dangerous to put your pet in the back of a pickup truck, according to the Humane Society. A dog can be thrown into traffic if the driver hits the brakes, swerves or is involved in an accident. The bed of a pickup can also get very hot in the summer months.
10. Some dogs love to swim but make sure they are trained to be able to get out on their own. Make sure your pet is supervised around swimming pools.