Keeping Dogs Safe In Summer Heat

Posted in Dog Friendly Gardening

Keeping Dogs Safe In Summer Heat

On a sunny day with temperatures at or above 70° Fahrenheit, most people know that the temperature inside their car can soar to intolerable levels for their dog. But even outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly get to your pooch and cause serious complications …

Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; in fact, the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to cool themselves and also use a temperature exchange called convection to cool their skin …




Both panting and convection cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside. If the surrounding air is not considerably cooler than the animals’ body temperature – as in the case of a hot, stuffy automobile – the cooling system will not work and heatstroke can occur.

View our “How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather” Video How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

What are the signs of heatstroke?

Signs of heatstroke include:

Increased heart rate
Excessive panting
Increased salivation
Bright red tongue
Red or pale gums
Thick, sticky saliva
Depression
Weakness
Dizziness
Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
Diarrhea
As heatstroke progresses, it can cause seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and death.

What should I do if my dog gets heatstroke?

Remove your dog from the hot area immediately. While transporting him immediately to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area. If possible, increase air movement around him with a fan …




Be careful, however, as using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. CAUTION: Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions …

The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if your dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible, he should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications …

Swimming allows your dog to cool down his body temperature when overheated. Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; as he may inhale it and could choke …

How can heatstroke be prevented?

Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful …

Dog Fountain Outdoors

Provide access to water at all times. Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you’re in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to 140 degrees …

These summer dangers include:

1. Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously high. It is most common when dogs are left in a car for too long, or when they exercise in the heat …

Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, and always remember that a cracked window is not enough to cool a car. Your dog always needs access to shade outside. Muzzling interferes with a dog’s ability to cool itself by panting and should be avoided …

2. Sunburn

Dogs can burn in the sun just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn …

Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems. To prevent sunburn, apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets. Be sure to cover the tips of your dog’s ears and nose, the skin around its mouth, and its back …

3. Burned Foot Pads

Sidewalk, patio, street, sand, and other surfaces can burn your dog’s footpads. Walk your dog in the morning and at night when outdoor surfaces are coolest. Press your hand onto surfaces for 30 seconds to test them before allowing your dog to walk on them. If it is painful for you, it will be painful for your dog …

4. Dehydration




Prevent dehydration by providing your dog with unrestricted access to fresh and cool water both indoors and outside. Ice cubes and frozen chicken or beef broth encourage your dog to take in more fluids and help keep it cool. You can also feed your dog wet dog food during the summer to increase its fluid intake …

Dog Cooling Bed

5. Campfires and Barbecues

Your dog may try to take burning sticks from the fire, which are hard to retrieve since they think that you are playing when you chase them …

Food that is stuck to barbecues after cooking can tempt your dog to lick the barbecue and burn its tongue or mouth. Lighter fluid is a poison and should not be left where your dog can reach it. Keep your dog away from barbecues and campfires unless it is on a very short leash …

6. Fireworks

Some fireworks look like sticks, which makes your dog think that they are toys. The loud noises and sudden flash of fireworks can disorient and startle your dog, causing it to run wildly. If you cannot avoid being around fireworks, then keep your dog on a very short leash …

7. Parasites

Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and other insects are at their peak during the summer months. Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate protection such as collars, sprays, shampoos, dips, and other products …

8. Chemicals in the Water

It is no secret that most dogs love to swim. Swimming can be fun for you and your dog and helps prevent heat stroke …

However, chlorine can irritate a dog’s skin and upset its stomach. Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming in a pool and do not let it drink more than a small amount of pool water.

Standing water, such as puddles, can also be dangerous for dogs to drink due to the presence of antifreeze or other chemicals. Provide your dog with fresh water to drink whenever possible …

9. Seasonal Allergies

Fleas, mold, flowers, and other potential allergens are common during summer. Allergies cause itching (and with it, excessive scratching), coughing, sneezing, discomfort, and other problems for your dog …

Keep your dog away from allergy triggers when possible, especially if you know it has a particular allergy. Ask your veterinarian about whether your pet would benefit from a canine antihistamine or other medication …

10. Getting Lost

Take care when traveling with your dog during the summer to prevent it from becoming lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Always have someone watching your dog if it is off its leash …

A collar with a contact information tag should be considered the minimum safety precaution. Microchip your dog if you desire more reliable identification.

These summer safety tips apply to dogs in general, but no one knows your dog better than you. If your dog is well behaved around food, for example, then it may be safer to let it be near a barbecue.

Do not be afraid to let your dog off its leash to run and enjoy summer, but do be aware of what possible dangers may be nearby before you do so. If you have a fun summer dog story or know a summer danger that we forgot to mention, tell us in the comments …

General Tips:

Make sure outside dogs have access to shade …

On a hot day, restrict exercise and don’t take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous …

Do not muzzle your dog …

Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade …

Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.

Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable …

To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on …

You can prevent your pet from suffering heatstroke. Use common sense and think of what it might feel like to wear a fur jacket (that cannot be removed) on a hot summer day …

Limit exercise on hot days …

Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours …

Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating …

Don’t rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people …

Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water …

In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat — in fact, it makes it worse.

Cool your pet inside and out. Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.) And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you …

Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak …

Watch for signs of heatstroke. Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness …

Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat …

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke:

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian …

There are several other products out there designed to cool off your dog. Some work better than others, and often it just depends on the dog. If you decide to try out one of these products, just remember that nothing can substitute fresh water and shade. No dog should go for long without plenty of both …

Exercise your dog in the morning or evening during the coolest temps of the day, stay in the shade whenever possible, and keep all your animals indoors when it’s extremely hot, generally considered to be 90°F or hotter …

NEVER leave your pet in a parked car on a hot day … even if you’re in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to 140 degrees.

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