Summer is such a great time of year! Outdoor fun, vacations, camping, etc. But it’s important to keep dogs cool during these hot months.
The heat and high temperatures can lead to health issues for your dog since he can easily become overheated. This is due to canines releasing heat in a different way than humans. For canines, heat is only released by panting and through sweat glands located between their toes. Since heat doesn’t escape from dogs as easily as it does for humans, it’s important to take precautions and make sure that your dog doesn’t become overheated.
Below are ways that you can keep dogs cool, healthy, and hydrated during the hot summer season.
1. Always have cool water available for your dog to drink. If possible, provide filtered water so that harmful toxins such as fluoride and chlorine are removed. When you take your dog away from your home, take along a water bottle and a portable bowl so that your dog will have water while away.
2. When your dog is outside, make sure there is shade available so that he is protected from the sun’s hot rays.
3. Never leave your dog in a car or other vehicle. Even with open windows, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to reach to dangerous levels.
4. During the hottest part of the day, avoid strenuous exercise. Provide exercise and and walks early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler outside. Also, be careful not to overexercise your dog.
If your dog begins to breathe more rapidly, let him cool off by stopping or slowing down the exercise.
5. Avoid hot roads and sidewalks. Dog’s paws can become damaged by the hot asphalt. So follow this rule of thumb: If a surface is too hot for a human to walk barefoot, it is
also too hot for doggie paws!
6. Invest in a cooling vest. With cold packs fit into the sides of the vest, they will help your dog to stay cool even when exercising.
A pet pool is another good investment. Your dog will have fun while cooling off your dog.
Plus, an elevated dog bed with cooling mesh will help your dog to stay cool.
8. Cool your pup by applying cool fresh water to his body. Since dogs release heat through sweat glands in their paws, a great way to cool your dog off and lower his body temperature is to have him stand in a cool pool of water. Putting cold water on his chest will also help to cool him off. But don’t use ice to cool down your pup since it could cause body temperature to lower too fast, resulting in blood flow constriction which prevents the body from cooling off.
9. Beware of Heat Stroke.
A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 – 103 degrees F. During the early stages of heat stroke, the temperature raises to between 104 – 106 degrees F. The physical signs of heat stroke will include panting rapidly, bright red gums, and thick saliva.
How do you know that your dog has heat stroke? Take your dog’s temperature by using a rectal thermometer. If the temperature is 104 degrees F or higher, he has heat stroke.
Take immediate action to cool your dog. Apply cool wet towels or cold packs that are wrapped in towels on the belly, in the armpits, and between the back legs. You can also run cold water
over the back of your dog’s head.
When the body temperature rises above 106 degrees F, dogs go into shock and the organs shut down. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, weakness, dizziness, and pale gums. Since the brain is also affected, a dog may have a seizure or suffer a coma. This is a life threatening situation, so if this happens, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Also, cool him off while on the way to the vet by applying cool wet towels to the groin area and the back of the neck.