The summer months may mean more fun, but on warm days it’s essential that we look after our four legged furry friends. Instead of sweating like we do, dogs dispose of heat by panting. They do have some sweat glands in their foot pads, but if panting isn’t enough to keep them cool, their internal temperature rises. Dogs are in danger of overheating when it gets hot outside, which can lead to dangerous medical conditions like heat stroke. Some dogs, like those with short snouts, can be at even more risk. So how do your keep your pup cool and out of harms way in the summertime?
Follow these simple tips:
- Wait to play outside until it cools off. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest periods of the day.
- Water, water, water! Offer not only water to drink, but water to cool off in, like in a baby pool, sprinkler, or lake.
- Be made in the shade! Let your dogs play in shaded areas of your yard. If you’re out somewhere without shade like the beach, head indoors for breaks.
- Avoid pavement. The surface of roads and sidewalks can get extremely hot. If the pavement is too hot for you to stand on, it’s too hot for your dog’s pads too.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car. Cracking the windows is not enough. Even at only 70 degrees, temperatures can increase by 40 degrees in just an hour.
- Promote a healthy weight. This is something to work on all year round, but overweight dogs are at a higher risk of overheating.
- Take care of their coat. Mats can trap heat in the fur. A clean coat also prevents sunburn.
What does heat stroke look like?
Certain dogs are predisposed to a sensitivity to heat, especially older dogs, overweight dogs, or brachycephalic pups (Pugs, Bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds).
A dog who is suffering from heat stroke can exhibit excessive panting, unwillingness to move about, drooling, signs of discomfort, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, call your vet or emergency vet immediately.