Easy Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer
Dogs, like people, need to stay cool for their health. Unfortunately, there are still issues with dogs being left in vehicles, left outside without any way to cool off or dogs being exercised in the heat of the day.
All of these issues can potentially result in the life-threatening condition known as heat stroke. In dogs, this is a condition which can be fatal in a relatively short period of time, and this time period can be extremely short for dogs with other health issues, older dogs or young puppies.
To help keep your dog cool and safe this summer, there are few simple changes in routine that can make a very big difference. Additionally, building in some natural cool for outside dogs can also be essential to their health and well-being.
In the summer months, think about exercising the dog, even relatively short distance, low-intensity walks in the early morning and in the cool of the evening. Avoid any type of exercise or exertion in the heat of the day.
Be very careful about the combination of heat and humidity, even in those early morning and later evening walks if your dog is a breed more susceptible to heat stroke and heat-related respiratory issues. Short muzzled dogs (Brachycephalic dogs) including Pugs, Bulldogs, Bull Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Lhasa Apso and mixed breeds with short muzzles are particularly problematic when the heat and humidity are high.
Dogs can also have problems with hot surfaces if you are walking on gravel, concrete or asphalt. Touch your hand to the surface; if it is hot to the touch for you, it will be painful for your dog. Walk on grass or consider some indoor activity to prevent burns and pain to the pads of the feet.
Lots of Water
Even in the cooler times of the day, be sure to bring water with you for yourself and the dog. Water must be provided at the first signs of excessive panting, and a stop in a cool, shady place can help your dog to bring down his or her core temperature naturally and safely.
Water will be very important for outside dogs. Ideally, position the water in a shady area of the yard and consider a drip water system to constantly provide fresh, cool water.
Wading pools are also popular for many breeds of dogs to cool off. These can be relatively shallow and kept in the shade, allowing the dog to get in and enjoy the cool water during the heat of the day.
If there isn’t natural shade in the kennel or fenced area, create shade by using a beach umbrella or build-in a covered area with open sides. This allows the dog to get out of the direct sun while also allowing the breeze to help to reduce the temperature.
Remember, kenneled areas on concrete, pavers or gravel will reflect and hold heat, increasing the temperature over what would be found over grassy areas. This needs to be carefully considered.
Cars and Dogs
Dogs should not be left in cars during the summer months. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows cracked open, the temperature will increase to 102-105 degrees in just 10 minutes. In a half an hour, the internal temperature of the vehicle can easily be as high as 130 degrees or more.
Heat stroke, both from cars and exposure to heat and humidity outside, can result in brain damage and death in dogs in as little as 15 minutes. Knowing the signs of heat stroke and preventing your pet from being exposed to these conditions can save your dog’s life.