Protect Your Pup
Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
Summer is heating up and people are eager to get out for fresh air, sunshine, adventures, and fun with Fido! But while summer is a time for fun in the sun, it can also be a dangerous time for your pooch. Here are some ways to keep your pup safe in the hot summer weather.
While we may love taking our dogs with us whenever can, this may not be the best choice during the hot summer months. If you have errands to run, stops to make, or cannot take your dog into the place you are visiting, it’s best to leave him home. A quick trip inside the grocery store could quickly become deadly to a dog left in a parked car this time of year, even with the windows cracked or parked in the shade.
It’s important to know that:
– Pets most at risk for overheating are young, elderly, or overweight animals, those with short muzzles, and those with thick or dark-colored coats.
– A car may overheat even when the windows have been left open an inch or two.
– Even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter! On an 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees – and within 30 minutes, its interior can climb from 85 degrees to 120 degrees.
– Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun.
– Many states and local governments have laws that prohibit leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions, which includes hot days. Your car could be damaged or you could be charged with a crime if you leave your pet in it unattended.
Dogs may have fur to help protect them from the sun, but many are still at risk for sunburn – particularly those with lighter or thin coats, or where skin is exposed, such as the belly, ears, or nose. Help protect your pooch from the sun when out and about this summer with dog-safe sunscreen; a UPF t-shirt; doggie goggles, sunglasses, or visor; and portable shade such as an umbrella, sunshade, or collapsible canopy.
Be sure to take products that can help keep your dog cool as you venture outdoors – for instance, a collapsible bowl for hydration on the go, along with plenty of drinking water; a cooling mat or vest for extended periods outside (cooling bandanas are also good options); a frozen bone, chill fill, or KONG toy; and protective boots for hot ground pavement so your dog’s paws stay safe.
Speaking of hot pavement, how do you know if it’s too hot for your pup to trot? Rest your hand on the pavement, wait seven seconds, and if it’s too hot, wait to take the walk when it’s cooler. A good “rule of paw” to remember – if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your hound. For reference, if the outside temperature is 77 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 125 degrees; at 87 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 143 degrees; and at an air temperature of 102 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 167 degrees.
A few health tips to keep in mind this summer: avoid mid-day walks, and stroll during cooler hours of the day; invest in a good pair of dog booties; try a topical product to toughen paw pads; and walk in the grass during the hottest part of the day.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke means a dog has lost the ability to regulate its body temperature and is overheating. This is a medical emergency! It is vital that dog owners recognize the signs of heatstroke and can act accordingly. While all dogs have risk of heatstroke, short-nosed, long-haired, and very young or very old dogs are at most risk.
Signs of heatstroke include:
– Excessive drooling (may be thick or gray in color);
– Heavy panting;
– Rapid breathing;
– Bright red gums and tongue;
– Elevated heart rate;
– Difficulty balancing (may stagger or wobble).
If you are concerned that your dog is suffering from the heat:
– Get him to a cool, shaded area;
– Wet towels with cool water and drape over the dog (do NOT use ice), or pour cool water over him. Refresh frequently;
– Allow small sips of cool water;
– Transport to the closest veterinary hospital.
Prevention is key! Heatstroke is often deadly to a dog. While understanding the signs and how to respond is important, taking the steps to prevent it from occurring is best. Exercise your dog early in the morning or later at night when it’s coolest. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water all day. Provide shade when outdoors. Never leave your dog outside in the heat of the day. Never leave him in a car alone. If you will be outside for an extended period of time (such as a sports game, picnic, or hike), leave your pup at home.
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