Offering a cage-free environment, Red Door Animal Shelter provides rescue, shelter, and adoption services in Chicago. Opening its doors to cats, dogs, and rabbits, this is one of the more unique multi-species shelters. Spaying and neutering services are provided prior to adoption, and Red Door Animal Shelter offers permanent residency for any animals that are not placed in homes. Marcia Coburn oversees this non-profit no-kill shelter, and lends her expertise in how to keep your pet cool this summer in Chicago.

Marcia Coburn
Red Door Animal Shelter
2410 W. Lunt Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645
(773) 764-2242

An avid animal lover, Coburn is passionate about the rescue and adoption of homeless animals. Coburn is President of Red Door Animal Shelter and has been involved with the organization for 15 years. She also works part-time as a veterinarian technician for Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital. Coburn lives in Chicago with one dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a very understanding husband.

Watch Humidity As Well As Temperature

Coburn said pets have a hard time dealing with high humidity, as well as high temperatures, so keep an eye on the humidity index. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet–rabbits, in particular, are very heat-sensitive once the temperature hits 80 or more degrees. An air-conditioned room, or cold tile floors in bathrooms can be helpful in keeping pets cool. Certain breeds of animals with flatter noses and faces like Boston terriers, Pekinese, Bulldogs, Persian cats and lop-eared rabbits have more trouble with humidity and heat. So do older pets, which are more prone to heart disease.

Avoid Hot Zones

Coburn said never leave your pet in a car during the summer months as the temperature inside a car can escalate to a fatal level within minutes. It is better to leave your animals at home in cool comfort. Schedule your dog walks for the coolest times of the day in the morning and evening. Streets can retain heat and throw it upwards, so remember that your dog is closer to the hot pavement or asphalt than you are. Also restrict your dog’s jogging during hot days.

Keep Hydrated

Coburn said it’s important to keep your pet drinking during the summer. Clean water bowls daily, and switch your rabbit from a water bottle to a heavy ceramic water bowl. Rabbits can drink more easily this way and a bowl is easier to clean. Cats are attracted to running water, so you could look into buying a cat water fountain. Available at many pet supply stores, cats love the sound. Offer your dog an ice cube as a chew toy.

Related: Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Chicago

Avoid Pests

“It’s important to keep your pet pest-free, so be up-to-date with vet visits,” Coburn said. “Ask your veterinarian for the appropriate flea treatments. What works on a dog can be fatal for a rabbit, so this is not a time to rely on homemade recipes or old wise tales. Kittens and puppies need specifically-targeted treatments too. Tick prevention is vital for both pets and people. Check your dog thoroughly every time they are in a field, forest preserve or goes on a camping trip.”

It’s the Little Things that Count

Coburn said the Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for pets, so lock them up in a secure room as far away from fireworks as possible. But all summer long there are lots of distractions including music concerts, out-of-town visitors, and doors being opened and closed. So get all pets microchipped and outfitted with up-to-date ID tags. Secure the window screens to avoid a cat or small dog from falling out of a window or your bird from flying away. Resist the temptation to get your dog a summer haircut. Shaggy dogs need that long fur to stay cool.

Related: Best Dog Parks In Chicago

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on