It’s hot! (We know, thanks Captain Obvious.) Here in Arizona, with temps above 80 large portion of the year, humans can overheat quickly and dogs even quicker. The ASPCA says that dogs can overheat in just minutes and warns to watch for signs of dehydration and overheating. These signs include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, weakness, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea. Body temperatures of over 104 degrees indicate overheating. Dogs with flat faces or short noses, like Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Pekingese, are even more susceptible to heat issues as they are not able to pant efficiently. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and healthy in the heat of the summer.
- Never leave your dogs in a parked vehicle. Not only is it illegal, but it’s dangerous. The Humane Society recommends not even leaving pets alone in running cars or with the windows down, not even for a minute. Temperatures in closed, hot cars can reach well over 100 degrees in as few as 10 minutes, up to 120 degrees within 30 minutes. Temperatures this high will cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, irreversible organ damage and could lead to fatal heat stroke.
- Don’t shave your dog. A dog’s coat is meant to protect him from the sun and overheating. Shaving your dog can lead to sunburn, quicker dehydration and increased heat sensitivity. If you want to give your dog a summer cut, keep his coat at least one-inch long. Regular brushing can also help dogs cope with the heat by getting rid of dead hairs under the top coat. Grooming can help with skin issues and help cool your dog down.
- Keep his water bowl full. Given how quickly dogs can dehydrate in the heat, they need a lot of fresh, clean water particularly if they are outside or after walks. Keep his bowl refreshed and maybe add some ice cubes for a special cool treat.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot surfaces. Paws can burn easily. Keep their time on sidewalks, asphalt, and even sand to a minimum. When walking make sure to walk in areas that have grass to keep their feet cool.
- Walk your dog in the morning or evening. Try not to walk your dog in the heat of the day when the sun is hottest and the temps are highest, it can overwhelm him. Exercise him in the cooler temps of the morning or evening hours. Applying doggie sunscreen is a good idea to help prevent burn.
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