Summertime is almost here and when the temps rise we all want to get outside and enjoy the weather. But for dogs there is a big danger of overheating and heatstroke is by far the greatest concern.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, happens when a dog's body temperature rises above 106 degrees fahrenheit. The normal ways your furry friend’s body cools off, like panting, can’t control a dog's body temp when it gets that hot. Warning signs of heatstroke include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and, at the worst, confusion and seizures.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your canine pal stays cool and has it made in the shade:
Monitor closely - The No. 1 sign that a dog's core temperature is getting too high is fatigue.
Watch the temperature - Don't let the temperature fool you. Canines can get too hot in weather as low as 80 degrees. Add in humidity and exercise, and it could be a recipe for overheating.
Change your walking time - Your dog still needs activity in the summer, but it's best to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Try going for a walk early in the morning or late at night after the sun has set.
Grooming is crucial - Don't give your dog a haircut. You may be tempted to shave your dog’s thick hair in an effort to cool them off for the summer, but it could do more harm than good. A dog's coat provides a buffer to help them regulate body temperature. A trim won’t help them handle the heat and could make them more likely to get a sunburn.
Skip the ice - If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, wet them down with room-temperature water and put them in front of a fan. Extreme cold causes blood vessels to constrict, and when that happens, a dog can’t cool down.
Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle - On a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can climb up to 115 degrees within an hour. Even with the windows down, a dog can easily overheat if left in these conditions.Instead leave your dog at home when the temps get above 75 degrees or get them out of the car into a shady, cool area.
Avoid hot surfaces - Your pup’s paws can be as sensitive as the soles of our human feet. If the asphalt’s or beach sand is too hot for you to walk on, chances are it’s too hot for your dog as well. When on a walk, alternate between asphalt, sidewalk, and grass so that your dog’s delicate paws don’t get overheated. If your dog is particularly sensitive, cover his paws with pet booties so he can stroll comfortably.
Water, water, water - Keep a fresh, clean supply of H2O in your dog’s dish to ensure that your pup drinks more often and stays hydrated. Bring water with you on a walk or hike or trip in the car.
Don’t over exercise - Dogs don’t always know their own limits. If you can tell your dog is breathing more rapidly or having some trouble chasing after a ball, slow things down and allow them to cool off.
Try a cooling vest - If it’s really warm, a cooling vest or collar with cold packs built into the sides will make sure your dog stays comfortable and cool even on a long hike.
Apply sunscreen - Despite their furry coats, dogs can still be exposed to and damaged by UV rays. Coating their fur and skin in doggy UV protectant sunblock will help prevent burns and keep them healthy.
Provide proper outdoor shelter - Whether it’s an awning that they can lie down under or a tree they can rest beneath, make sure your dog has a place to get out of direct sunlight.
Provide cool treats - Try feeding them treats that are cool, high in water content or both. Dog ice cream is found in pretty much every grocery store, but if you like you can make your own. Frozen broth popsicles are another easy frozen treat your dog will love.
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