While summer is an excellent time to get outside and play with your dog because the weather is nice, the heat can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for your beloved pet. Follow these tips to help keep your dog safe from the heat this summer.
Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car
Even if you’re only going to be gone for a few moments, you shouldn’t leave your dog locked in a hot car. Dogs can get heat stroke very quickly because they’re covered in fur and cannot cool down by sweating as humans can. Even if the windows are cracked, it can still get too hot for your dog to handle. Heat stroke is very dangerous for dogs and can cause organ damage or even death.
Provide Shade When Your Dog Is Outside
If your dog spends a lot of time outside in your yard, make sure that there’s plenty of shade available so that your dog isn’t hanging out in the heat of direct sunlight. A doghouse isn’t a good option for shade because it gets too warm inside the house and can make the problem worse. Tree shade is great and if you don’t have trees in your yard, you can set up a tarp for your dog to sit underneath. Under a tree or a tarp, there’s plenty of airflow so your dog can stay cool.
Limit Your Dog’s Exercise When It’s Hot
If it’s a hot day, then you should limit how much exercise your dog gets. If you do give your dog exercise on a hot day, try to do so only during the morning or the evening so your dog isn’t running during the hottest part of the day.
Keep Your Dog Well Watered
You should also make sure that your dog has easy access to water whether they’re inside or outside. Dogs need to drink plenty to stay cool. Another option is to make pupcicles, or popsicles made for dogs with some of your dog’s favorite human foods, like banana and peanut butter.
Avoid Relying on a Fan
Fans can’t cool down dogs as well as they can humans. This means that you should make sure your dog has access to air-conditioned rooms when inside the house because a fan won’t be sufficient to keep them cool.
Prepare for a Power Outage
Your dog can stay cool inside with the air conditioning under normal circumstances. If the power goes out, however, then you’ll need to know what to do to keep your dog safe from the heat until the power can come back on. The Humane Society offers suggestions for a variety of different pet disaster plans, including one for what to do if your power goes out in the summer. They suggest taking your pet to a pet-friendly location that does have power. Some emergency management offices have pet cooling rooms that you could use.
Keep an Eye out for Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke in dogs can be very dangerous. Pet parents need to know ahead of time what to look for so that they can cool their dog down before it’s too late. The signs of heatstroke include:
- Deep red or purple tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive salivation
- Lack of coordination
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Heatstroke?
If you discover that your dog has heat stroke, first you should cool them down. Take them to an air-conditioned room and use ice packs or cool towels applied to the dog’s chest, head, and neck to cool them down. You can let your dog drink cool water or lick ice cubes as well. Once your dog is out of the immediate danger zone, take them immediately to the vet for an exam.
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