Summer has finally arrived and, along with it, some pretty high temps. While our summer weather can be relatively mild in the Pacific Northwest, it can also range into the 90s at times. Our cars and trucks can be even hotter…even with the windows cracked. When the humidity strikes, the heat is absolutely unbearable for our four-footed friends.

What this means for pet lovers is that we need to leave Fido and Fluffy at home, not take them with us when we run errands, unless we plan to be in the vehicle with our pets at all times and with the windows open or the air conditioning on. This will save our pets from getting dehydrated or having heatstroke, a deadly condition.

Think your pet – or one locked in the vehicle next to you – may have heatstroke? Here are some signs that the pet is suffering from heatstroke:

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

Heat is also a problem for pets who live outdoors. The American Animal Hospital Association offers these tips for keeping your outdoor pet cool and safe this summer:

  • Ensure adequate shelter from sun/midday heat.
  • Outdoor kennels should be well-ventilated and in the shade.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water in a bowl that cannot be tipped over.
  • Avoid excessive exercise on hot days.
  • Talk with your local veterinarian to determine if your long-haired Fido needs a summer haircut.

For more tips on keeping your pet cool this summer, visit Protect Pets from Summer Scorchers or Your Car is an Oven on For more pet care advice, visit the pet owner site of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Kent TV21 is working on a video with tips on keeping your pet safe and cool this summer.  When the video is posted, it will be available online at Kent TV21.

Dana Neuts

I am a full-time freelance writer, editor, marketing pro and the publisher of

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