Keeping a Dog Cool and Safe in the Summer Heat
Avoiding Dog Heat Stroke in the Summer
The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the sweat starts to drip from our brow. Please remember that your dog gets hot, too. But your dog can’t tell you when he has had too much. As a responsible dog parent, it is your responsibility to keep your dog cool and comfortable during the summer months – okay, ALL the time. Dog Heat Stroke can happen in a blink of an eye.
Heat Stroke in dogs is serious, and can become deadly very quickly. Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, or unattended outside in humid or warmer weather. Unventilated rooms such as garages or barns can also be risky. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, cool water and shade. Avoid walking on asphalt on extremely hot days.
Some dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke. Short-nosed, flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds are at a higher risk because their airway cannot function properly to cool themselves down quickly enough. Any dog who has difficulty breathing either due to being overweight, having a heart or lung condition or collapsing trachea is at a higher risk for heat stroke. Other risk factors are dogs who have not had previous experience with high heat and humidity, or dogs with thick coats, thyroid disease, or any other serious illness.
Signs of dog heat stroke can include panting, drooling, rapid pulse, restlessness, loss of balance and fever. If this happens, immediately run cool or lukewarm, not cold, water over your dog, particularly in areas where there is good blood flow, like the head, armpits, and groin. Afterward, go to your veterinarian, or emergency vet clinic. Heat stroke can lead to organ dysfunction and death, so it is an emergency.
Here are some tips from holistic veterinarian Judy Morgan.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day
- Avoid hot pavement
- Don’t overdo it, take shorter outings, more often
- Incorporate cooling products such as a cooling jacket, cooling bandana, cooling mat, umbrella, dog stroller, covered wagon, or dog boots
- Keep the sunscreen on both your and your dog’s nose, and his skin, too, if he is hairless
- Have plenty of cool water, shade, and breaks
- Play games in and around a baby pool so your dog can go in and out
- Take calming walks around waterfronts such as beaches and lakes
- Play with the sprinkler
- Play with ice cubes, or frozen treat toys
- Strenuous exercise INDOORS, not outside
How do you keep your dogs cool in the summer? I would love to hear in the comments.
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