10 Things to Know about Pets and Extreme Weather

by Kevin Grandia

July 27, 2012

Scientists are saying that with the climate disruption they are seeingwe can expect a lot more extreme weather events -droughts, wildfires, extreme heat and strange storm patterns with names like “derecho” are the future.

So it’s important to know how best to help our four-legged family members fare these extreme weather events. Here’s 10 things to know about pets and extreme weather that I have compiled from various sources:

1. We’ll start with the one that seems most obvious, but continues to be the top killer when it comes to heatwaves! Never leave a pet unattended in a car on a warm or extremely hot day. Seriously, this one is such a no-brainer. And leaving the windows open is not enough to stop the temperature from rising. Think about this: on a day that it is 78 degrees, your car in the shade can reach temperatures over 90 degrees – in the sun your car can reach 160 degrees!!

2. Keep cool and fresh water available all day and night. One thing scientists tell us is happening is that there is less relief from heat at night then there used to be, so don’t forget that your pets will probably be looking for water at night as much as they are in the day.

3. You might like running on a super-hot day, but your dog probably doesn’t. Let Fido stay home and skip the excercise because with all that hair they just can’t cope with heat as well as us hairless apes.

4. You know how walking in barefeet on concrete or ashphalt burns? Well its the same for your pet. So if you are taking them for a walk, make sure they have on some cute little booties or better yet, take them to a park where they can run on the grass or dirt instead. When it is 77 degrees, pavement can be 125 degrees.

5. Heatstroke can happen in minutes in cats and dogs so watch for signs of heat distress: panting, open-mouth breathing, inactivity, lack of appetite and diarrhea.

6. If your pet is showing signs of overheating move him into the shade, wet the coat and use a fan to blow cool air. If that isn’t working put icepacks or wet towels in the arm/leg pits and the groin area. And, of course, call your local vet.

7. Got a white cat? Did you know they get sunburned? Keep your white kitten inside on hot days.

8. Some breeds of dogs, like Bulldogs, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Pugs and Boston Terriers, are not very efficient panters, so pay extra special attention if you own one because they are much more susceptible to overheating.

9. A lot of dogs and cats HATE thunder (along with many humans I might add). So in these times of extreme weather, if your pet is afraid of thunder you can help them out by remaining calm yourself, try to play a game with them to distract and offer your pet a nice, quiet place they can go if possible.

10. I love this last one. On especially hot days give your cat or dog some cool relief by placing a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth in their bed. The peas contour to their body and offer some immediate sweet relief.

I am sure there are many more tips so please leave them in the comments section below.

Share your extreme weather photos and stories with us at. [email protected]

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.