The dog days of summer are finally here! If you are a proud parent to a four-legged friend, you’ve probably been looking forward to leaving the cold morning walks of winter behind you. Taking advantage of these long summer days can be a great way to enjoy your pooch outdoors and bask in this sunny season together. However, the summer heat can be extremely dangerous – even deadly – to your pet, and knowing how to keep them safe during these hot summer days can go a long way to keeping them happy and healthy. Protecting your dog from the rising temperatures is easy to do with a little education and diligence.
While we all know the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for us humans, dogs are way more susceptible to have an onset of these conditions on a hot day than their human counterparts. And it’s not just the fur coat that makes it harder for them to stay cool. Certain breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, and other short-nose dogs have real challenges when it comes to bringing down their internal body temperatures – and unfortunately, that can be catastrophic. Regardless of breed, always closely monitor your dog when outside on these hot days. If your dog starts to show any signs of heat exhaustion, immediately get them out of the heat. Rapid panting is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to quickly bring your dog into the cooler indoors. Offering them some water and towel them down with tepid water can help to get that body temperature regulated. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and a reddening of the skin on the inside of their ears are also indicators that heat exhaustion may be setting in.
Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke if not immediately addressed – which can lead to serious health issues, even death. If your dog is showing any of the signs of either heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the faster you take action, the better the chances that you can stop it in its tracks. Call your vet immediately if you have any indication that your dog may be struggling to cool down.
Make sure to find shady, grassy areas for your dog to play if you want to spend time outdoors. Keep them off of sidewalks – not only does heat collect there, but that hot asphalt can easily burn their paw pads. Think of taking them for a swim and limit the amount of typical exercise your dog may be used to during these hot months. A summer trip to the groomer can go a long way to helping keep your long-haired dog cool, but keep in mind that dogs are also susceptible to sun damage and sunburn. All dogs have vulnerable areas of the body such as the belly and the ears, and even a dog’s nose can become dried out and sore when exposed to the sun.
And while we hope this goes without saying, it is always worth the reminder – never, ever leave your dog in a parked car, even for just a few minutes. Leaving the windows open a “crack” does little to nothing to stop the rapidly rising temperature inside a vehicle on a summer day. If you see an animal left in someone else’s parked car in the heat, call for help immediately. A dog can suffer permanent damage or death in a very short time when left in a parked vehicle on a hot day.
We all want to enjoy these long summer days with our fur babies, but we must remember it is our responsibility as their owners to keep them safe from the summer heat.
Posted on July 13, 2019