Tips to keep dogs safe during hot summer days

Now that summer has arrived, the City of Toronto’s Animal Services wants you to know how to recognize signs of distress in your dog during hot weather.

Symptoms of overheating in dogs include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart/respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness and stupor. In extreme cases, symptoms may include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature.

To prevent heat-related health impacts, residents should:
• Never leave a dog alone in a hot car. Even with all windows cracked, the temperature of a car’s interior can quickly rise to deadly levels.
• Always keep dogs hydrated. Provide lots of cool, clean, fresh water. Bring water with you on walks and take frequent breaks.
• Always schedule exercising your dog during or around the time of the coolest parts of the day, which are dawn and dusk. Hot asphalt on sidewalks and streets can burn a dog’s paws.

If you see a dog unattended in a parked car on a hot day, call the City at 311.

Young, elderly and overweight dogs, and dogs with short muzzles, are most at risk for overheating.

More information about the City’s cooling centres, where all legal pets are welcome, is available at

— Angelica Santos