Summer is in full-swing, and that means dogs are at risk of dehydration, heatstroke, and even death as a result of high temperatures.
To prevent these worst-case scenarios, take good care of your dog this summer and follow these tips.
#1 – Never leave your dog in an unattended vehicle.
Absolutely never leave your dog in a parked, unattended vehicle — even if “it’s not that hot” or you’ll be “just a minute.” Vehicles quickly heat to extremely high temperatures (yes, even if you crack the windows), and heatstroke can happen in a minute.
If you notice a dog in such a vehicle, contact security or a police officer, store employees, or animal control as soon as possible.
#2 – Make sure your dog always has cool water available.
It is essential that your dog stays hydrated when temperatures go up. Always keep cool water available to them, refilling it hourly as the day goes on.
#3 – Make sure your dog always has a cool place to lay down.
If your dog mainly stays outside, make sure they have a place to lie in the shade. Keep in mind that the sun changes location throughout the day, so a place that might be shady in the morning (like the overhang of a house) can end up being in full sun during the afternoon.
For this reason, it’s good to have a patio umbrella, large tree, or other stationary shade available. As soon as temperatures reach around 90°F, all dogs and other pets need to go inside for shelter. Provide fans to lessen the heat.
#4 – Know that some dogs are at higher risk of overheating.
Senior dogs and puppies are at a higher risk of overheating. Also, at a higher risk are those dogs with chronic health conditions and brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, Boston terriers and English and French bulldogs.
#5 – Recognize the signs of overheating.
Symptoms of overheating or heatstroke in your dog include:
- An elevated body temperature
- Excessive or heavy panting
- Reddened gums and tongue
- Wobbling or instability
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Mental dullness
- Collapse or loss of consciousness
#6 – Avoid walks at the hottest part of the day.
Avoid walking during the hottest part of the day. If for some reason you have to go out during the hottest times, then be very cautious. Try to make the walk short and take steps to protect your dog.
#7 – See a vet immediately if you fear your dog has become overheated.
If you fear your dog may have become overheated or is experiencing heatstroke, take immediate action. Cool your dog right away by getting them into shade or indoors and wetting their bodies and tongue with cool water. Put them in the bath or shower or use a garden hose (taking care to let the hot water out elsewhere first). Allow them to drink as much water as they want.