Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Some Don’t Like It Hot!

Did you know that, even if it’s just 78 degrees outside, the inside of your parked car can reach 120 degrees in just minutes?  Many of us love to take our pets with us when we go somewhere, or want to run an errand or two on the way to a pet-friendly outing, or to bring them with us on car trips.  I myself love to take Polly, my Labradoodle, along and that is one of the (too few, to me!) reasons winter is great, because I know she will be comfortable waiting in the car for me for ten or 15 minutes while I pop into the store.  But in the spring and summer?  Not so much.

Many people aren’t aware that in just a few moments a car’s interior temperature can skyrocket.  This is true even if you roll down the windows a bit or park in the shade. Cars heat up way faster than you’d think – it’s just not worth the risk, is it?

So what should you do if you see someone else leaving their dog in the hot car?  Say something!  Don’t be afraid to speak the truth!  If you see a dog in a parked car – this happens to us dog walkers more often than you might think – call the authorities immediately – either the police or animal control.  Write down the make, model, and license tag of the car and report the person for animal abuse because that’s what this is.  If you’re near an office building or store, have the owner paged and wait until you see some response.  In extreme cases, some people have gathered witnesses and then removed the animal from the car themselves.

Here are the signs of heat stroke in pets: excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, thick saliva, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lack of coordination or restlessness.  Get the pet to a cool environment immediately.  You’ll want to gradually cool his body down, so don’t pack him in ice or give him ice water.  Instead, give him cool water, submerge him in cool (but not ice) water, apply cool compresses to his belly, chest, paws, and groin.  Be careful to cool him down slowly and again, don’t use ice, as you don’t want to over-cool him either.

Other Hot Weather Tips:
The Humane Society reminds us that high humidity along with heat can also be dangerous for your pet, since, as Dr. Barry Kellogg says, “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”  If your pet seems excessively hot, check his temperature:  a dog’s should not be above 104 degrees, and a cat’s should not exceed 105.  If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke (vomiting, restlessness, rapid pulse and breathing, stumbling, dark red tongue), cool him off with cool water and give him lots to drink.  Then call your vet.

Remember to always provide fresh, clean water and lots of shade to pets in hot weather.

Limit outdoor exercise on hot days.  Carry water with you, and consider wrapping your pet in a cooling pack such as the Cool Collar or a cooling jacket.  You must be the judge of whether your pet’s getting overheated.  I know my dog would chase the tennis ball until she collapsed if I let her!

So keep these tips in mind, spread the word, and stay cool, y’all!

Written by: Ashley Denham Busse

King Street Cats is holding its 8th annual Theater Night fundraiser on Tuesday, August 5 at 6:30pm to raise money to support its rescue mission. This entertaining event will be held at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, featuring the musical, Spamalot. The event promises an enjoyable evening of theater, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. Tickets for the event are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. All ticket purchases and donations are tax deductible. Tickets may be purchased at King Street Cats’ website at:  Last year’s event was a raging success and we expect even better this year!

Ashley Denham Busse has worked part-time for since 2006. is a professional pet-sitting company located in Old Town Alexandria, celebrating more than 13 years of providing daily walks and customized in-home pet care. Visit or email 

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