Dog Days of Summer
Remember to be kind to your furry friends in the summer heat
There’s nothing better than enjoying a sunny day outside with your dog. Going to the park and running together, or throwing a frisbee for your pet to chase, dogs and owners love having this kind of fun together! But summertime can be a dangerous time for dogs.
Unlike us, dogs cannot sweat except on the pads of their feet. So, they rely on panting to stay cool. If they exercise too hard in the sun, especially if they do not have access to water, they can heat up faster than panting can cool them off. If their temperature gets dangerously high, this is called heatstroke. This is a serious danger to dogs, and can cause permanent organ damage or death if not treated very quickly.
Dogs can also develop heatstroke from being locked in a car in the sun, or by having no access to water or shade on a hot day. If you have a dog that is overweight, has heart disease, or has a short face like a bulldog or pug, they are even more likely to develop heatstroke.
So, remember to take care of your best friend by giving them plenty of water and access to shade when they are outside. Giving your dog some rest time during exercise, if they seem to be getting too hot, will also help to keep them safe.
Don’t leave your buddy in a car in the sun. Even at relatively low outside temperatures, the heat in a car can rise to dangerous levels very quickly on a sunny day. If you must leave your dog in the car, leave it running with the air conditioning on. They might also enjoy some nice music while you are gone.
If your dog is in a situation where they may have gotten too hot, and you see signs like excessive panting, unusual behavior, excessive tiredness, twitching, seizures, or collapse, this could mean that your dog has heatstroke.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. It is very important that you transport your animal to the veterinarian immediately, only delaying long enough to spray or immerse your dog in water to help start the cooling process. Wet towels can be also used, and should be left on during the ride to the vet. Ice should not be used, as this can cause the small blood vessels in the skin to constrict, actually slowing down the cooling process.
During the trip, your dog may have as much water as they want to drink, but do not force them. If you have a rider and a thermometer in the car, the rider should take your dog’s temperature every five minutes, and remove the towels once the temperature reaches 103 degrees (F). Even if their temperature does drop, you should continue to the veterinarian, as severe problems such as kidney failure could have already occurred, and need to be treated as soon as possible. Rapid treatment by your veterinarian gives your pet the best chance for a complete and happy recovery!