The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the temperatures are rising. When summer hits everybody feels it, including your dog. In this months blog I’m going to cover a few tips on keeping your fur baby cool in the summer weather, as well as how to tell if your dog is overheating and warning signs to watch out for.
Let’s start at the beginning… taking your dog for a walk. When those high temperatures hit, everything starts getting hotter, including the asphalt. Make sure that before you even begin to take your dog for their walk you check the asphalt temperature with your hand… IF IT IS TOO HOT FOR YOUR HAND IT IS TOO HOT FOR YOUR DOG. While their pads offer some protection they can get burned easily, I would suggest getting little booties for your baby or walking in the early morning or evening once the temperatures have dropped. Also, water water water… bring a bottle of water and a collapsible bowl to make sure they stay hydrated and cool during those tough summer months.
DO NOT SHAVE YOUR DOUBLE COATED BREED. The same hair that keeps them warm in the winter keeps them cool in the summer, if you insist on shaving your dog for any reason, keep them inside. Dogs even when shaved, sometimes ESPECIALLY when shaved, can overheat and have a heat stroke if left in the elements. Ask your groomer their opinion on if you should shave your pet or not.
Outdoor dogs: make sure they have a shaded structure… trees are typically better than dog houses because they provide shade and air flow. The air can get stagnant inside those dog houses and does not provide the cooling system suitable for your pet. I suggest putting ice cubes in their water bowls, and maybe having a sprinkler outside or a kiddie pool so your dog can cool off if he needs to and keep a fan outside. Be especially careful with snub nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs since they have smaller airways it makes it harder for them to release heat when they pant. The same applies for older or overweight dogs or those with heart or breathing problems.
This should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyways… DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR. Even with the window cracked, even when you think you’re only going to be gone a few minutes, even if you think it’s not that hot outside. On an 85 degree day it can reach 102 within ten minutes and that’s WITH the window cracked. Either leave your dog at home, or take him with you.
Lastly… if all of these tips have failed you, and you think your poor pup is overheating, here are some signs to look for (and take your pet to the vet IMMEDIATELY):
- Heavy Panting
- Trouble Breathing
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Dark red gums and tongue
- Heavy Drooling
- Dry, pale gums