Cool tips for hot days. How to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer
Heat stroke is serious and can come on quickly and often when you’re on a walk, hike or run, far from home. This means, once you start seeing symptoms of distress, getting your dog home quickly might not be an option.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the common signs of heat stroke in dogs are: panting, salivating, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. As it becomes fatal, your pet will become comatose and their temperature will range from 104- 110°F.
Senior dogs, flat faced dogs, dogs on particular medications and young dogs are particularly at risk for overheating on hot days.
If your dog seems overheated, it’s important to bring their body temperature back down slowly. Bringing their body temperature down too quickly could have life threatening side effects. Soak towels in cool water and rub areas that are free from hair like neck, ears or belly. Once they seem stabilized, get your dog to a vet immediately.
Beware of hot temperatures on all surfaces. Roads, sidewalks, asphalt and sand can be excruciatingly hot during summer months, reaching temperatures of up to 145 degrees. These surfaces absorb the sun’s rays all day and remain hot long after the sun goes down.
A dog can suffer severe injury on hot surfaces. Their paws can blister and bleed or they can lose part of their pads, making walking extremely painful and leading to a long recovery, causing them to be immobile for quite some time. Practice common sense.
If it feels too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog.
Don’t walk during the hottest part of the day and stay on grassy areas. If that’s not possible, consider foot coverings like booties or socks or keep walks short and wait til nighttime and early morning to do your walks.
Never leave your pets in a car. A pet in a hot car can quickly suffer heat stroke, organ or brain damage and death can occur within only 15 minutes. On a hot summer day a car’s interior can increase from 85 degrees to 120 degrees within only 30 minutes. According to the American Veterinary Association of America (AVMA) hundreds of dogs die each year of heat exhaustion from being left in a parked car and studies show that cracking the window has no benefit.
While laws vary from state-to-state, many states have “hot car” laws to protect animals. You can be fined and faced with animal cruelty charges and in some states it’s considered a felony to leave an animal in a hot car. Some states have gone as far as granting rights to good Samaritans to use any means necessary to save a distressed animal, including breaking a window. It’s not worth it. Do the right thing and leave your pet at home on hot days.
Keep your dog’s hair trimmed to keep them cool during summer but never shave your dog, over-exposing their skin to the sun. Yes, dogs can get sunburn and just like people, your dog can develop skin cancer over time.
Nose, ears, belly and any areas with thinning or short hair are particularly susceptible. Check for redness, blistering and sensitivity to touch. If this occurs, get them to a vet immediately. Don’t keep you dog out during the hottest part of the day. Always keep them in an area with plenty of shade. Even on short walks, consider applying waterproof sunscreen or protective clothing.
Always consider your dog’s comfort on hot days, long before you ever start to see signs of discomfort or distress.
Here are a few quick tips to always remember:
• Keep pets inside on extremely hot days.
• Keep walks to a minimum and don’t go during the hottest part of the day, typically between 12-2.
• Carry plenty of water whenever your pet is with you.
• Make sure the water in their bowl is fresh and cold.
• Put ice cubes in water bowls.
• Freeze their treats.
Have a fun and safe summer!