Animal Emergency & Referral Center Offers Tips on Keeping Pets Cool This Summer

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May 23 is Heat Awareness Day and Animal Emergency & Referral Center wants to help by reminding pet owners of the importance of keeping their pets cool and safe during the heat-filled months of summer.

It’s getting hot out there. In Minnesota, “heat” seems like such a wonderful word after what usually seems like endless months of cold and snow. Therefore, residents will always take full advantage of warm, summer days by going to the beach, a Twins game or fishing. But just like people have to protect themselves from the heat with air conditioning, water, shade and light clothes, pets need protection too.

In honor of Heat Awareness Day on May 23, Animal Emergency & Referral Center has a few tips to offer to help pet owners prevent their pets from overheating this summer:

1.    Always provide pets with water and shade. Just like people, animals need to stay hydrated and cool in a shady area or in the AC during the summer.

2.    Never leave a pet in a parked car. Pet owners typically will say, “oh it’s only for a few minutes while I go run and grab one thing from the store.” Even if the window is open, a pet should not be left in the car. Those few minutes running into the grocery store could cause irreversible organ damage to any animal. A parked car can reach up to 102°F on an 80°F day after ten minutes. It can cook up to 120°F after thirty minutes.

3.    Watch the humidity. If it’s going to be a scorching day, do not keep a pet outside for long periods of time. If a person will be gone for a while, he or she should let their pet stay inside; even an outdoor doggy pool outside will lose its cooling factors while the water eventually warms up.

4.    Keep pets cool and happy. Pets can cool down with not only shade and water, but also with frozen pet treats (like peanut butter pops), being inside with the AC, cool baths, damp towels, mats or cooling wraps (which are especially great to have if the pet owner does not have AC). For cats, try letting them chase around ice cubes. Also, pets should be brushed daily to get rid of extra hair.

5.    Don’t make pets overwork. If it’s a really hot day, a pet owner cannot expect their dog to go on his or her usual 30-minute walk. Instead, a short ten-minute walk should be considered. If located near a lake, a dog can take a dip to cool off during the walk. A water bottle should be brought along as well.

Just in case the heat gets to be too much, here are symptoms to look for if a pet owner suspects their pet is suffering from a heatstroke:

  •     An extreme amount of salivation
  •     Heavy panting
  •     Trouble breathing
  •     Overly thirsty
  •     Rapid heartbeat
  •     Vomiting
  •     Fever
  •     Lack of coordination
  •     Seizure
  •     Unconsciousness

Keep pets safe and cool this summer. For pet owners, if a pet appears to be suffering from the heat, contact a veterinarian immediately.

About the company:
Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota (AERC) started out with one clinic, one veterinarian, and one technician. Today, they employ a wide variety of doctors and health care team members – all specially trained in emergency and critical care--in addition to a growing referral practice for when pets just aren't feeling like themselves. For more information, please visit their website at

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