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How to keep your dog safe during record-setting Austin heat

A large black dog puts its paws up on a metal fence.
Patricia Lim
The local animal shelter is warning pet owners about the dangers dogs can face during extreme heat.

This summer in Austin is shaping up to be an especially hot one. Just days after the hottest May on record, forecasters predict temperatures to break 100 degrees every day this week.

With high temperatures upon us, the local animal shelter Austin Pets Alive! is warning pet owners about the dangers dogs can face in these conditions. Dogs only sweat through their mouth, feet and ears, so they're more susceptible to heat exhaustion than humans. The possibility of heat exhaustion increases in dogs that are overweight or have long fur or a short nose.

There will be no adoption fees through June 16 during the Austin Pets Alive! “Heat 'Waive’” special. The animal shelter hopes free adoptions will encourage more people to adopt, moving dogs from APA kennels into air-conditioned homes.

Austin Pets Alive! recommends these summer protocols to ensure your dog stays healthy:

Check the sidewalk: Hold your hand on the sidewalk for 10 seconds. If the sidewalk or pavement is too hot for you to hold your hand on for this short time, it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Be careful outside: Whenever playing with your dogs outside, make sure to bring water for them, just as you would for yourself. Try to only go outside for short periods of time in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler. Keep your dog in the shade as much as possible.

Check for warning signs: If your dog has red eyes or its tongue is hanging unusually far out of its mouth, that could indicate heatstroke. Your dog lagging behind on a walk can also be a sign of overheating.

Never leave your dog in your car: Your car can reach 129 degrees on a 95-degree day in just 30 minutes. Even a short period of time in a hot car can have devastating impacts on the health of your dog.

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