MISSOURI — Summer heat is a major concern for pet owners, and exposing your pet to heat for prolonged periods of time could even result in criminal charges for a pet owner.

KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to chat with Dr. Kelly Ryan, Director of Medical Services for the Animal Care Center of Mid-America, who said there are some steps pet owners can take to ensure their furry friends stay cool throughout the dog days of Summer.

Click below to hear their conversation, which aired Friday on KMZU.


“The biggest thing we start out with, is if it is over 70 degree, do not take your pet with you to run errands,” Ryan said. “Leaving a pet in the car when it is over 70 degrees is pretty much a recipe for disaster. It is just a matter of time until they get sick or overheated, even to the point where it becomes life threatening. It just happens so quickly.”

Ryan went on to say that while it may be easier to spot signs of overheating when you remain with your pet, if you leave your pet alone, those signs won’t be apparent, and that can be risky for the pet.

Excessive panting, sluggish activity and stumbling are tell-tale signs your pet may be suffering from the heat.

Keeping your pet in the shade or indoors with access to clean, fresh water is key to ensuring pet safety during hot summer months, and never leave a pet in a car over 70 degrees. Plastic water bowls are recommended for outdoor use, due to metal bowls conducting heat and warming up the water.