According to the American Humane Society, animals suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke just like humans. These conditions can lead to death very quickly. Keep an eye on your pet in the warm weather and watch for symptoms such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, temperature more than 104 degrees, stupor, or a deep red or purple tongue. You know your pet better than anyone and know if something is wrong. It's better to call the veterinarian and be safe than sorry.
If you think your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion or stroke, get it into the shade immediately and take steps to cool the core body temperature, including using cool (not cold) towels and letting the animal drink small amounts of water or licking ice cubes. The Humane Society also recommends that you call your veterinarian immediately.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals adds that you especially keep an eye on animals with flat faces such as Pug dogs or Persian cats, since it is more difficult for them to pant effectively.
Animals can suffer from sunburn too, so be sure to provide plenty of shade for your animal, and plenty of water. Dehydration, along with heat concerns and sunburn, is a serious situation. Just as you need to keep fluids in your body during the summer, your pet does too. Animals with fair skin may need sunscreen on their noses, ear tips and pads and should stay out of the sun as much as possible. Talk to your pet's doctor about the best options.
What about ways to cool off? Cats may prefer to hang out in the house, in a nice, cool spot. You can put ice in its water, place a water bottle filled with cool water someplace for the cat to lay on, or have cold towels ready for your cat. Generally, cats don't like water, but many dogs do.
If you have a pool, it's best to control access to the water. Just as you wouldn't want the neighbor's kids jumping in without your knowledge, your dog might try to sneak a swim too. And, like a child, a tragedy with your dog can happen instantly. If your dog loves to swim, or just splash around, keep an eye on it and rinse the chlorinated or salt water off later.
If you take your pet with you, make sure your destination allows pets. Most state parks welcome dogs, but have rules about keeping them leashed and cleaning up after them. However, many festivals don't allow pets.
If you take your dog on vacation, or just to the store, remember this: never, ever, ever leave your dog or cat in the car in hot weather. The ASPCA says that a car can become a furnace in minutes, leading to death, even if the windows are open and you're parked in the shade.
Another concern for your animal in the summertime is those pesky pests, specifically fleas and ticks. Visit your veterinarian and find the best forms of insect control available. Generally, the products you can purchase in the grocery store are poisonous to animals as well as insects.
Hopefully your pet will have a safe summer