(credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Pets are at risk of dehydration and heat stroke during hot summer days. A watchful owner will know that a patch of shade, an indoor fan and a bowl of water aren’t enough to remove potential dangers. Make steps to ensure safety for your pets when at home, on the road, out for a walk and even during an electrical outage. Since 1868, the San Francisco SPCA has been pursuing their advocacy for animals and can offer advice, veterinarian care, adoption and more services at two locations in the Mission District and in Pacific Heights.

Krista Maloney
Marketing and Communications
San Francisco SPCA
201 Alabama St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 522-3500

Dog inside a car (credit: Thinkstock)

Don’t Ever Leave Pets In Cars

According to the San Francisco SPCA, rule number one has to do with car safety. Maloney said never leave a pet alone in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are open. This dangerous scenario is the major risk for heatstroke, as temperatures inside a stationery car can soar to 120 degrees and above within minutes. “No matter how often I repeat this warning, I still see pets left in cars,” Maloney said. On a hot summer day, it’s best to leave pets at home while you run errands. Remember that even in more temperate parts of the Bay Area, your car can turn into an oven.

Dog bowls at a Kimpton Hotel (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Access To Fresh Water

This simple tip is also a non-negotiable one. Refresh water often and keep bowls both indoors and outdoors. Shade is also critical. When out and about, stop at pet-friendly establishments, shops and restaurants that leave a water bowl outside their front doors and do let them know if the water needs replenishing after your dog has enjoyed it. On hot days, carry water and a collapsible doggie bowl with you.

(credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Pay Attention to Surfaces

Imagine that uncomfortable feeling when sand on the beach becomes too hot to walk on, television meteorologists demonstrate an egg frying on the sidewalk and the car seat is like a hotplate to the touch. Because sidewalks, roads, driveways and other surfaces can get sizzling hot, we must remember that tender paws and pads are bare and can easily burn. Look for grassy places and time your walks and exercise for early morning or dusk, once surfaces have cooled considerably.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Provide Sun Protection 

If your dog has a thick coat, a nice, short haircut is a good idea, but avoid giving your dog a close shave in summertime. “Dogs and cats can get sunburned [and can] even skin cancer, especially on their ears and noses,” Maloney said. Protect them from the sun’s potentially harmful rays with animal-approved sunscreen, paying extra special attention to fair-haired, older and younger pets.

(credit: Rany Yagi)

Swimming Is Not For All

Be aware that not all breeds are aquatic experts like Portuguese Water Dogs and Labrador Retrievers are. Some dogs cannot do the doggie paddle, as their build and fur will drag them down like a stone. The San Francisco SPCA reports that some pets have even drowned in a backyard swimming pool, which explains why pet stores stock life vests. Breeds that would be happier at home if you’re headed for the beach, include bulldogs, Scottish Terriers, basset hounds and dachshunds.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today and eHow.