North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association Offers Five Pet Summer Safety Tips

Statewide Veterinary Medical Group Discusses The Top Ways to Keep Pets Safe This Summer

Raleigh, NC, July 21, 2013 --( The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) ( has compiled a list for pet owners outlining the top five ways to keep pets safe during the summer. July and August are the hottest months of the year in North Carolina, and humans act accordingly by applying sunscreen and drinking plenty of water. But did you know that the summer sun and heat can be just as harmful, if not more, to our pets? Heat-related illness causes hundreds of unnecessary deaths each year. As temperatures rise, pet owners should be aware of possible dangers and take these precautions to help pets avoid heatstroke or other injury.

1. Walk pets outdoors outside of peak sun times, either in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the risk of heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke to look for include restlessness, loss of coordination, fever, vomiting, excessive thirst and rapid heartbeat. Any animal exhibiting any of these symptoms should be taken to an air-conditioned location and then immediately to a veterinarian. Additionally, limit exercise on excessively hot or humid days to prevent overheating.

2. Be aware of ground surfaces when walking pets outdoors. Certain surfaces like concrete and asphalt can rise to dangerous temperatures, putting pets at risk for burns or damage to the pads of their feet. Try to walk on grass if possible. Provide open areas in your yard with ample shade, particularly if your pets spend much or all of their time outdoors.

3. Never leave pets alone in parked vehicles, even with the windows down or the air conditioner on. The temperature inside of a parked car can rise very rapidly during the summer months, creating a deadly environment for pets inside. In just 10 minutes, they can suffer irreparable brain and organ damage.

4. Keep extra cold water on hand at all times when spending time with pets outdoors. Pets do not regulate body temperature the same way that humans do, so be mindful of keeping them refreshed with plenty of water. Look for symptoms of dehydration in both cats and dogs, like sunken eyes, lethargy, panting, loss of appetite and dry mouth.

5. Brush pets regularly to prevent matted fur, which can cause heat to be trapped closer to the skin. Cats and dogs with long hair are especially prone to mats, so be sure to groom them diligently.

To learn more about pet safety, visit the NCVMA at

“We all know how quickly the heat can rise in North Carolina and the effect it has on our bodies,” said Claire Holley, executive director of the NCVMA. “However, it’s important to remember that the effects are often multiplied in our pets. Take extra precautions to keep your animals safe and healthy this summer.”

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About The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association:
The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) is a professional organization of veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. The NCVMA promotes integrity and excellence in veterinary medicine, provides the highest quality continuing education programs and conferences, supports its members through public relations and marketing efforts to the public and governing officials, lobbies on behalf of the interests of the entire profession, and serves as an advocate and voice for veterinary medicine in the state. As recognized experts in veterinary medicine, NCVMA members are frequently asked to contribute their opinions and lend their expertise to media outlets throughout North Carolina and around the country, including The News & Observer, Charlotte Today, Wilmington Star-News, Fayetteville Observer, Greensboro News & Record, USA Today, Yahoo!, ABC News and News14 Carolina. For more information, visit, or call (800) 446-2862 or (919) 851-5850.

Jennifer Fair
MMI Public Relations
(919) 233-6600
Robert Buhler