It's that time of year that we all have waited for...summer! Pets are along for family vacations, outside during the day or walking with us as we go for a stroll. But this time of year can be a dangerous time for our furry, four legged friends. They can overheat just like people can so precautions must be taken.
Walks: Limit your dogs walks to either early in the morning or late at night. Shorten the walks on extremely hot days. Allow your dog to walk on grassy areas as cement and pavement can be hot enough to burn their pads. If you stop to talk to someone on your walk, make sure your dog can stand on grass and not on the hot pavement.
Hikes: Cancel your hikes on extremely hot days or at least don’t take the dog.
Car rides: Even on a ‘warm’ day, the heat in a car can rise high enough to do serious damage to your dog. A beautiful 85 degree day could raise the temperature in your car to over 100 degrees. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave your dog in a car, even with the windows ‘cracked’ during summer days. You are also risking your dog’s life if you leave the air conditioning running while you run into the store. One woman learned her lesson the hard way by doing this and lost both of her dogs (one a Great Dane) because the air conditioner malfunctioned.
Backyards: Know the breed of your dog and how sensitive that breed is to the heat. Chows, Huskies and other long haired breeds should be brought inside during the heat of the day. Not only do you risk their lives, but they are MOST uncomfortable in heat. This can affect their breathing and their overall health. If you must leave your dog outside, make sure they have plenty of shade, air circulation and lots of FRESH water. One suggestion is to freeze a container of water and give them one big ice cube (along with another bowl of water) so they can have something cold to lick or lay next to. A small child’s pool filled with fresh water is also very soothing to certain dogs.
If your dog gets overheated, hose them down. Do not use cold water, use ‘cool’ water. Also, put rubbing alcohol on their foot pads. Soak paper towels or washcloths with rubbing alcohol and place them on their pads and leave them on for a while. Get your dog to the vet immediately for fluids and other treatment.
Use common sense on hot days. Some pets do well with the heat but many do not. This includes small dogs too. Be very careful and it’s best to just keep them at home inside when the weather is extreme.
And remember that dog houses must be properly ventilated...if your dog is outside on a hot day in a dog house with no air holes for ventilation, they will over heat. Be sure that a breeze of some sort can blow through or use other means to ensure that the dog is not sitting inside of a stifling hot dog house.