With the arrival of summer in the U.S., the temperatures are going higher with the southern states experiencing hotter days and the Northern states having cool mornings & evenings but warmer days. Although the season does call for spending a higher amount of time outdoors that you might enjoy, your furry friend may not be a fan of the summers. High outside temperatures may also put your dog at a risk of heatstroke which can cause severe health problems such as organ failure or swelling of the brain. It indicates how crucial it is to keep our dogs protected in the hot weather. If you have a furry companion in the house, then these eight tips might help. But first, let’s have a look at why the heat doesn’t favor our canine companions
Our dogs have fur all over their body that serves as a protection against the cold weathers and helps keep them warm. However, as summer approaches the hair can be a problem when the temperature gets too high. Unlike us humans our pets don’t sweat so the only cooling mechanism they depend upon is panting. When our dogs are unable to pant sufficiently, their body temperature rises which if not treated at the right time, can have severe consequences. But as they say, prevention is better than cure; instead of always worrying about our dog’s well-being it is best to take appropriate measures of keeping them safe. Here is how!
Keep Your Pup Hydrated
As the weather turns hot, there is a high risk of dehydration in our dogs. The body weight of dogs comprises 70% water so even losing 5 to 10% of it can be dangerous. Make sure your dog drinks the recommended amount of water which is about 1-ounce water per pound of their body weight, this is particularly important for pups that stay outdoors. Ensure that all dogs in your house always have access to clean and cold water. Some dogs even like iced water whereas others don’t so look for what your furry companion likes.
Prepare Some Frozen Treats
Your dogs will love having some frozen popsicles in the hot summer afternoon. Of course, feeding them human ice-cream won’t be the smart thing to do, so it is best to prepare some delicious frozen treats at home. It will also be a better way to fulfil your dog’s daily requirement of water.
Try out Different Ways of Keeping the Dog Cool
Your furry companion does require some special treatment during the hot days of the year. Specific additional arrangements can make the weather bearable for your pooch and make him a happy boy. You can utilize a mist creating attachment and connect it to the water supply to spray a cooling mist of water on your pooch. Another option is to create a breeze of cold air by placing a fan on the patio. These small arrangements can prove to be quite beneficial for your furry companion.
Invest in a Cooling Mat
Instead of letting your dog cool off on the kitchen floor consider purchasing a cooling bed or a mat for your pooch. It will help keep your dog’s body temperature low and provide comfort. Multiple varieties are available in the market such as gel cooling beds, water cooling beds, etc. Some types can help soothe pain due to other conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, certain skin conditions, etc.
Keep Your Dog in a Shaded Location
If your pup likes to spend most of his time outdoors, then provide appropriate shaded locations for him to rest.
Stay Safe on the Beach
Summer does call for some fun in the water on a hot sunny day, but you need to be very careful as you don’t want to harm your pooch. Some dog-parents make the mistake of assuming that since their dogs are in the water, they are safe from heatstroke, sunburn and other such conditions. However, this isn’t true at all so make sure your dog doesn’t get exhausted. Take him out of the water to relax whenever he wants otherwise your furry companion can be at the risk of hypothermia. Apply sunscreen to protect your pup’s skin. You can lightly mist the product on your dog’s belly and legs but never spray it near the face instead apply the sunscreen using a cotton ball. Don’t let your pup drink sea water and make sure you pack some bottled water. After you and your pooch are done enjoying the water, be sure to bath your dog to remove seawater residue. Examine your pooch for any signs of sunburn or allergies.
Exercise Your Pooch in the Morning
Walking your dog during the time of the day when temperatures go incredibly high can be very risky. Of course, physical exertion is essential but giving up on it isn’t an option, so the best way is to go out early in the morning when the weather isn’t tough on your canine companion. This might seem a bit too hectic for some dog-parents, but it is the safest option. Don’t try strenuous exercises such as hiking or biking with your pooch. Another critical factor is that the ground may be hotter than we assume since we wear shoes with insulating soles whereas our dogs’ paws aren’t covered and walking on hot surfaces such as asphalt, cement or tarmac their paw pads may get burnt which can be quite painful. To prevent this from happening, walk your dog on shaded trails or check the temperature of the surface where you will be walking your dog with your hand. If you can’t keep touching the surface for10 seconds, then it will be too hot for your dog.
Closed Environments such as Cars Can be Dangerous
When dogs are trapped in closed environments such as cars they are at high risk of developing hyperthermia as a result of which their body can overheat. It is best to leave them back at home if you are travelling on a hot day. If you have to take them out, then turn on the air conditioner and be sure to not leave them alone in the parked car out in the sun.
Heatstroke – Symptoms and First-Aid Tips
Even if you take all the above mentioned precautionary measures, it is best to stay cautious and always keep a check for any symptoms of heatstroke in your dogs. The most significant indication of the condition is high body temperature. Other signs include heavy panting, excessive drooling, the gums turning red, increase in heart rate, seizures, rapid or irregular pulse rate, unconsciousness, etc. If you suspect that your pooch is showing any of these symptoms then immediately take the necessary steps to lower the body temperature. Here are a few first-aid tips to help your pooch
If your dog is exposed to sunlight then immediately take him to a shaded and cool place
Splash cool (avoid ice or very cold) water on your pooch and use wet towels on his thighs and head to lower the body temperature
Provide fresh water to hydrate your pup, remember even it shouldn’t be too cold
Once you provide your dog with the recommended first-aid rush him to the veterinarian to ensure that his condition is stable and no damage has occurred to any of his organs. If there are any complications such as kidney failure, blood clots or the build-up of fluid in the brain must be immediately treated. In severe cases, you may need to admit your dog to be kept under observation. You may also be required to feed your pooch particular food for kidney disease in dogs and take extra care of your companion until he recovers completely.
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.