Summer temperatures are beginning to soar and that can spell danger for your beloved dog. Many people think that dogs are well suited for all temperatures, but that’s completely false. While a dog’s fur has the ability to protect your dog from heat and sun, dogs can suffer from the effects of the summer heat just like their humans. Following some easy guidelines can help keep your dog cool this summer and thereby prevent heat stroke.
Dogs need to be hydrated all year long, but especially so in the hot summer months. Drinking cool water will help your dog stay hydrated and cool. On an average day, your dog should ½ – 1 oz. of water for each pound of weight. So, a 40 lb. lab should drink anywhere from 20-40 oz. of water per day. When exposed to heat, your dog can be expected to drink even more water than that. Monitor your dog’s water intake to be sure that he is staying well hydrated. Outside water bowls should be plastic or ceramic as metal bowls heat up very quickly and retain heat in the summer sun.
Walking your Dog
Walking your dog during the summer is not discouraged! However, there are some rules to follow to keep your dog safe from the summer heat. Walk your dog in the early hours of the morning or evening hours. Walking your dog mid-day when the sun is at its hottest is never a good idea as any exertion in the summer heat can be dangerous. No matter what time you walk your dog, keep in mind that the pavement heats up much faster than the sidewalk. If you can’t place your own hands on the pavement for more than 30 seconds without feeling the heat then your dog should not be walking on the pavement. If you can’t walk your dog during those times, consider indoor alternatives that will allow your dog to get some energy out. Physical and mental games indoors will help your dog get exercise while staying cool at the same time.
Traveling by Car
Summertime is the best time to travel and many of us don’t like to leave our dogs at home. I think that’s great, however, never leave your dog in the car alone during the summer months. A car heats up much faster than you think. In fact, on a day when it’s only 70 degrees outside, it only takes twenty minutes for the interior of a car to reach 100 degrees. Leaving your dog in the car in the summer heat can put him at risk of heat stroke and subsequently death. Leave your dog at home if you’re traveling alone or not able to bring your dog everywhere you plan on going.
Final Cooling Tips
Be creative when it comes to keeping your dog cool. Many dogs love to run through sprinklers or wade in kiddie pools. Outdoor baths are great fun during the warmer months. Nowadays there are cooling collars, cooling padsand even sprinklers meant just for dogs. Providing your dog cooling treats is another “cool” option for preventing heat stroke in your dog. Frozen treats can be made at home. You can also buy frozen treats, like frosty paws, right in your grocer’s freezer.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Knowing the signs of heat stroke can potentially save your dog’s life. If you’re ever not sure, always seek medical attention if you notice any of the symptoms below. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health.
Signs of heatstroke:
- Excessive panting
- Increased pulse
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive drooling
- Glazed eyes
- Excessive thirst
- Bright red gums
- Temperature of 104 degrees
Keeping your dog cool this summer is easier than you think. Just plan ahead and always err on the side of caution when it comes to exposing your dog to extreme temperatures of any kind. Senior dogs, puppies, and short-snouted dogs are those most susceptible to the dangers of the summer heat.
Note from Joey at All Critters: This Summer has been especially brutal here in Raleigh (at least it seems like it to those of us out in it each day!). On especially hot days we will, on occasion, cut walks a bit short and bring your pups inside earlier if we feel they need a break. We’ll stay out long enough for a little fresh air, exercise and for them to pee & poop, but your pups health and safety is our number 1 concern, always. You’ll still get the same amount of time for the visit, but we may spend a little time indoors playing with then where it’s more comfortable and safe.
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