There are two words that become more common when the warm weather arrives, much to the joy of our canine companions: “car” and “ride”.

There’s nothing like taking a drive to a favourite spot on a beautiful, sunny day. Our furry family members love to be included in our adventures, and we’re happy to see them happy. However, this can make it very difficult to determine when we are putting our pet’s happiness before their safety when it comes to spring and summer activities.

Many pet parents know that a parked car isn’t safe for a pet on a sweltering hot day, but are surprised that it can reach dangerous temperatures within minutes, even on a mild day early in the season. A car acts as a greenhouse, quickly becoming uncomfortable for even a human. Because our furry friends’ bodies do not regulate heat nearly as well as ours, heat stroke is a very serious and commonly fatal risk this time of year.

Dogs are also prone to heat stroke when enjoying a dog park or walk in the sunshine on a hot day. Commonly, they will happily keep playing without symptoms until they suddenly collapse. At this point, unfortunately, chances of recovery are slim.

To avoid this, on warm days that aren’t too hot, always take breaks to offer your dog water and force them to rest. On days that are too hot and sunny, a puzzle toy or visiting a pet-friendly establishment can be suitable alternatives that still give your dog some stimulation and fun.

When a pet is hurt because of something so preventable as heatstroke, it’s easy to label the pet parent as a “bad owner”, but that’s rarely the case. More commonly, it happens to good owners, who love their pet and wanted them to have a fun day, but who simply didn’t understand the risks of the weather.

Education and prevention are key to helping our furry friends enjoy a safe sunny season. By packing a special water bottle just for them, never leaving them unattended while outdoors, and talking to other pet owners about the risks of warm weather, you could save a life. Just like a car ride with a best friend, that’s something to get excited about!

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.