Skip to Main

MDARD reminds pet owners to keep their animals safe in the heat

As temperatures rise into the 90s in many parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and humane societies are reminding pet owners to keep their animals cool and safe.

Cherryland Humane Society’s Naomi Pobuda says it’s important to take precautions during the hot weather.

“We typically have volunteers that come in the morning for walks and it’s going to be very hot, but it’s reasonable for a short walk for all of the dogs” says Pobuda. “But we’re pretty excited because on hot days like this, we set up a really lovely spot in our enrichment yard with doggy splash pads, kiddy pools. So instead of getting the dogs outside when it’s 90 degrees to play fetch or whatever, we let them have some time in the water and it’s really cute and they love it.”


You can help your pets beat the heat by following these tips:

  • Provide unlimited cool, clean, fresh water. If out in public, bring along some hydration options for your animal and avoid using shared/communal water bowls.
  • Know your animal’s ability to tolerate heat. An animal’s age, breed, type of coat, and health history can all play a role. Keep an eye on them for signs of heat stress—like increased panting or drooling and being more lethargic. If they are showing these signs, it is time to immediately move them to a cooler area. Also, consider talking to your veterinarian. They will have a greater knowledge of your animal(s) and be able to give more specific guidance on how to best handle them in hot weather.
  • Test surfaces to make sure they won’t burn paws. Surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and sand can really heat up in the sun, which can burn paws—or at least make a walk very uncomfortable. To test if a surface is too hot, touch it with the palm of your hand. If it is too hot for you, consider taking a different route that is mostly grass or waiting until the evening when everything has had a chance to cool.
  • Avoid harmful algal blooms in bodies of water. To prevent illness in animals, keep them out of areas with scums or discolored water, rinse them off after contact with any lake water, and bring clean, fresh water for them to drink. If an animal becomes sick after contact with algae, call your veterinarian right away. To report cases to MDARD, submit a Reportable Disease Form or call 800-292-3939. In addition, to report any suspicious looking algae, please email
  • Don’t leave your pet in your car. Even when temperatures feel more moderate, vehicles can heat up very quickly, creating dangerous conditions for the animals left inside. Leaving windows cracked open and/or parking in the shade do little to improve the situation. In these conditions, it is best to leave pets at home when you need to go out and about.
  • Make sure animals have a place to cool down. Animals know when they are too hot and will usually try to find a place where they can cool down. Make sure they have access to shade, fans, misters, pools, cooling mats, and/or air-conditioned spaces to help them stay comfortable.

You can find more information from The Humane Society of America here.

Local Trending News