Berkshire Humane Society advises all residents of the Berkshires and surrounding areas to be mindful of their pets’ safety during the forecasted heat wave. With expected temperatures in the 90s and an even higher heat index, it is extremely important to keep pets indoors, out of the sun, and hydrated.

Pets should live indoors with their families. If they must spend time outside, please make sure they have constant shade, even as the sun moves across the sky. Provide plenty of water along with ice cubes. Consider setting up a kiddie pool for dogs that enjoy playing in water, and make sure that water bowls and pools are in shaded areas.

Keep walks short and avoid hot sidewalks and pavement as these surfaces can burn paws. Take walks in the early morning or late evening. Limit outdoor play.

Please leave pets home during hot weather. Keep shades drawn and make sure they have access to the coolest rooms in your home.

Never leave a pet inside a car, even with windows cracked or with the AC running. On average, the inside temperature of a car on a warm day is 20+ degrees hotter than outside the car. On a hot day, this temperature increase will be even greater. The heat rise occurs within minutes, and extreme heat can kill your pet or cause irreversible organ damage in an extremely short period of time.

Animals respond differently to heat than humans. Dogs pant and sweat through their feet, therefore fans do not adequately cool them. Outdoor dog houses restrict airflow and can be deadly. Make arrangements for your pets if you must be away from home or cannot keep them with you.

When exposed to extreme temperatures, pets can experience heatstroke. According to the Humane Society of the United States, heatstroke is characterized by “heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.” Learn more here: