Chicago pet owners warned of heat dangers as temperatures rise

With a heat wave expected to hit Chicago next week, the Anti-Cruelty Society is warning pet owners to watch for signs of heat-related illness in their animals.

Starting on Father's Day, temperatures are forecast to exceed 90 degrees for several days. Pets are particularly vulnerable to heat, and owners should take precautions to prevent heat stroke and distress in dogs and cats.

Pet owners should never leave their pets in parked cars, as they can quickly become dangerously hot. High humidity also makes it difficult for dogs to cool themselves, potentially leading to overheating. A dog's temperature should not exceed 104 degrees. To cool pets, use ice packs, wet towels, or shallow pools of cool water.

Limit outdoor activities and exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours. Avoid hot asphalt, which can burn paws, and always carry water for hydration. Ensure pets have access to shade and water, and keep your home cool with air conditioning or fans.

Signs of heat stroke in pets include difficulty breathing, rapid breath, blank or anxious stares, discolored gums and tongue, disorientation, excessive drooling, lack of urine, muscle tremors, and sudden collapse. If a pet shows these symptoms, immerse them in cool water and take them to a veterinarian immediately.

For signs of dehydration such as loss of appetite, reduced energy, excessive panting, sunken eyes, dry nose and gums, pale gums, or loss of skin elasticity, contact a veterinarian right away.

If you suspect a pet is being neglected, call 311 or the Anti-Cruelty Society's Humane Investigation team at 312-645-8090. For more information, visit

Tips for Humans to Beat the Heat

  • Stay hydrated – drink lots of water, AVOID alcohol, caffeine, sodas.
  • Stay inside, if you do not have air conditioning, keep shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
  • Keep electric lights off or turned down.
  • Minimize use of your oven and stove.
  • Wear loose, light, cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths and showers.
  • Do not leave anyone (including pets) in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

Chicago Cooling Centers

The City of Chicago’s cooling areas operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week. Visitors are required to wear a face covering while in the cooling areas.

  • Englewood Center – 1140 W. 79th Street
  • Garfield Center – 10 S. Kedzie Ave. (24 Hours)
  • King Center – 4314 S. Cottage Grove
  • North Area Center – 845 W. Wilson Ave.
  • South Chicago Center – 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
  • Trina Davila Center – 4312 W. North Ave.