Hot Dogs: Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer
The weather has really heated up in the last couple of weeks, and it might be safe to assume humidity and sunshine are now in summer mode to stay.
Heat stroke is a serious threat to dogs in the warmer months, and heat stroke happens when the dog’s body temperature increases to above normal levels and the dog cannot cool down.
Dogs already run at a hotter temperature than humans, and they don't have the ability to sweat to cool themselves down like we do. Instead, they pant, which is less efficient than sweating - especially if it’s humid outside. If your dog overheats, it can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation. Learn how to keep your dog cool, and know the signs of a dog that is dangerously overheated to the point of heat stroke.
Tips for keeping your dog cool
Hit the dog park earlier in the day or later in the evening. Avoid walks in the middle of the day whenever possible, because this is when the sun is brightest and the temperature the warmest.
If dogs are outside, they should have access to shade and cool water at all times. If you go to the dog park at any time of day, make sure there’s a few shady spots. If filling a doggie bowl with water brings all the dogs over, discretely pour water from a bottle into your hand for your dog. On warm days, having lots of cool water around is essential.
Sunscreen can be used on dogs's more sensitive areas like tummies, noses and ears - but only if it contains titanium dioxide instead of zinc oxide, which is extremely toxic if the dog licks it off. If your pet is shaved, has hairless areas or is light-skinned, you may want to invest in a sunscreen specially formulated for dogs, like Epi-Pet.
Many long-haired dogs can handle harsh winters without any additional outdoor clothing, unlike their owners. Imagine how your long-haired dog feels when you’re outside wearing as little clothing as you can legally get away with because it’s so hot! Get your long-haired dog a trim during the summer months so he stays cool and comfortable.
Signs of an overheated dog
Some dogs are more at risk of overheating than others, particularly short-nosed and flat-faced dogs like pugs, boxers and bulldogs. In addition, dark-coloured dogs can warm up quicker than others and white-coloured dogs are at risk for sunburn.
Signs of heatstroke include collapsing, vomiting, tacky (dry) gums, excessive drooling, seizures, bright red gums and tongue. Your dog may also seem listless, slow-moving or unable to walk properly.
If they do display these signs, cool them down any way possible (like soaking their coat with water) and call your vet. Without your vet's help during heatstroke, your dog could suffer permanent brain or organ damage - you need to get him there immediately.
Despite the fact that it should go without saying, dogs still die every summer after being left in cars. Always remember that there is no safe way to leave your dog unattended in a car, even for just a few short minutes - the shady tree you parked under can be caught with a sudden gust of wind and let the sun in, and your air conditioner doesn’t work at full capacity while your car is parked.
Keep safe this summer!