HOT WEATHER DOG CARE
Summertime means fun in the sun and beautiful weather – but the heat can be harmful to dogs.
Here is a guide to help prevent your dog from overheating and some tips to help if this does happen.
INFORMATION REGARDING HEATSTROKE AND DOGS
Heatstroke occurs when the dog’s body temperature exceeds a healthy range. This can be fatal for dogs.
• Dogs cannot sweat so they rely heavily on panting to cool themselves off.
~ Panting becomes less conducive when the temperature and humidity increases.
• Dogs’ temperatures should never rise above 104º.
~ Purchasing a digital thermometer will allow you to check your dog’s temperature. (Wikihow provides a detailed informational guideline on how to take your dog’s temperature: http://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Dog’s-Temperature. )
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN OVERHEATED DOGS
• Glassy eyes
• Frantic panting
• Anxious expression
• Refusal to obey commands
• Warm, dry skin
• High fever (temperature taken by a thermometer)
• Abundant salivation
• Rapid heartbeat
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR DOG HAS HEATSTROKE
• Apply ice packs or towels soaked in cool water to their head, neck, chest and hairless areas.
• Let your dog chew ice cubes.
• Keep your pet cool with a cooling body wrap. (Check out: http://www.shopforshelters.com/product/148/warm_weather_dog_gear)
• Bring him to the vet!
HOW TO PREVENT HEATSTROKE
Here are some ways to prevent your dog from overheating during those hot summer months.
1. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN THE CAR ON A WARM DAY
• It only takes a few minutes for a car to get extremely hot – within 30 minutes it can get up to 117º.
• See below for chart regarding air temperatures in cars correlated with elapsed time.
Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
|Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time|
|Elapsed time||Outside Air Temperature (F)|
|> 1 hour||115||120||125||130||135||140|
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University
2. TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE VET FOR A FULL CHECKUP
• Checkups should include a heart worm test and a flea & tick protection plan.
~ These are essential year round but it is especially important to monitor this during the summer since outdoor time increases dramatically.
• Make sure to keep your pets’ vaccines up to date and continue parasite control throughout the summer.
• The vet can recommend exercises and tips for keeping your dog in shape and healthy during the summer without over exerting himself.
3. KEEP YOUR DOG WELL GROOMED
• If your dog has a heavy coat, shaving his hair to a 1-inch length will help prevent overheating.
• If your dog has extremely thick hair or lots of matts and tangles, his/her fur may trap heat.
• It is essential to maintain a regular grooming schedule.
~ DO NOT SHAVE YOUR DOG DOWN TO THE SKIN: this will cause your dog to lose its protection from the sun.
4. AVOID WALKING YOUR DOG IN THE HEAT
• Aim for mornings and evenings to walk your dog and/or let them outside.
• Do not leave your dog standing on the street or on the black top.
~ Your dog is much closer to the hot concrete and its body can heat up quickly.
~ Dogs’ paw pads can burn since they are not protected from the hot asphalt by shoes like humans are.
5. KEEP TEMPERATURES COOL AT HOME
• Don’t turn your air conditioner off when you leave the home if you have a pet.
~Try leaving it at an energy efficient but comfortable setting (~ 76°).
• Make sure your pet has fresh water and consider closing the shades to reduce the heat from sunlight.
• If there are locations in the house that are noticeably cooler, make sure your pet has access to these spots.
6. GIVE YOUR PETS ACCESS TO SHADE AND LOTS OF WATER
• Make sure your pets have plenty of access to water and shade when outside or at the beach.
• Carry water with you if you plan to travel or be away from sources of water.
~ There are many travel products to make water portable for your pet. (To see a list of pet friendly bottles and bowls check out: http://www.wag.com/html/sg/portable-dog-bowl-and-water-bottle.html)
7. AT THE BEACH
• Make sure to provide a shaded spot and fresh water for your dog to drink.
• Rinse your dog off after he/she has been in salt water.
~ The salt can be irritating to your dog’s paws and skin.
8. BREED SPECIFIC INTOLERANCE OF HEAT
• Certain breeds are less tolerant of the heat than others.
~ Short/snub-nosed dogs aka Brachycephalic (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Bull Mastiffs, Lhasa Aspos, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs) have a harder time dealing with hot temperatures.
~ “Brachy” = shortened; “Cephalic” = head.
~ These dogs have smaller nostrils. which restricts the amount of air that can flow into the nostrils.
~ An example of a symptom of dogs that are mildly affected is noisy breathing, snorting when excited and snoring when sleeping. These symptoms often worsen in hot and humid weather.
• Older dogs, puppies, obese dogs, or dogs with health issues will also have a harder time dealing with the hotter temperatures.
• Dogs with heart or lung diseases should be kept indoors in air conditioning as much as possible.
KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON YOUR DOG IN HOT WEATHER
NO MATTER WHAT BREED, AGE AND HEALTH CONDITION!