Keep your pets cool this summer

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 4, 2014

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sometimes, having a hot dog in the summertime can be a bad thing.

According to Jeff Randazzo, chief of Macomb County Animal Control, the changing of the seasons from cold to hot doesn’t necessarily bring an upswing of pet injuries and problems — just different ones.

“We get dogs that get frostbite,” he said. “I just think the incidents are different. Instead of hypothermia, we’re going to get hyperthermia.”

Randazzo said pets must have unlimited access to cold, fresh water and shade while outdoors. He recommended that pet owners take their dogs on walks during the cooler hours of the day. When doing so, they should try to stay off hot surfaces like asphalt, which could potentially burn the pet’s paws.

“If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet,” Randazzo said.

Allowing pets to go outside more often correlates to more injuries, according to Ryan McTigue, spokesman for the Michigan Humane Society. He explained that hot summer days bring their own dangers to pets.

For instance, McTigue discouraged pet guardians from tying or chaining a dog inside a yard all day, especially when the setup could prevent the animal from accessing shade.

“Sometimes, they’ll tie them up in the morning,” he said. “As the day goes on, the sun could move across the yard, and they could be stuck out in the heat of the day.”

McTigue said many people like to have their dogs with them at all times. But when it comes to car rides and errands, the decision to leave an animal at home instead of keeping it in the car is usually a wise one.

If a pet is left inside an unoccupied vehicle during the summer, it can be endangered, even if a car window is cracked open, McTigue said.

“Temperatures can quickly rise to over 100 degrees inside the car, and that can be deadly for your animals,” he said.

Animal welfare watchdogs agree on the importance of making sure pets have identification on them and are properly registered. Under Michigan law, dogs are required to be licensed.

While McTigue recommended that cats live indoors, he said pet owners should take precautions in case the worst-case scenario happens, and the animal gets lost.

“You want to make sure that they always have proper identification,” he said. “We recommend collars with tags, and you do need to get your city license for your dogs, as well. Getting your pets microchipped is relatively inexpensive, and it’s a permanent (form of) identification if your animal goes missing.”

Learn more about Macomb County Animal Control by visiting or by calling (586) 469-5115.

Contact the Michigan Humane Society by visiting or by calling (248) 283-1000.