Your Dog And The Dog Days Of Summer

Typically, by mid-June the weather is referred to as the “dog days of summer” because of the impending heat that usually comes with it, and follows it in July and August.  So, with summer rapidly approaching, or perhaps already here, it’s important to remember that our furry friends can easily get heatstroke. Humans are not the only ones that are affected by the heat, if you can imagine being out in 90° weather and wearing a fur coat all day, you can imagine how hot your dog becomes.

How Your Dog’s Cooling System Works

Dogs cannot pant even when they are just mildly thirsty, so being a good pet parent, there are some signs that you need to make sure you are aware of to ensure that your dog does not overheat.  As humans, we have sweat glands in our skin for perspiration to evaporate the heat from our bodies.  But, our dogs don’t sweat in the same way – the only places that they sweat are on the pads of their feet.  As a result, they need to pant to cool themselves off and they have an inner mechanism that helps them cool their skin.  However, if the air around them is hotter than their internal system, heatstroke can and does occur!

Signs Of Over Heating

There are certain signs that you need to be able to recognize when your dog is becoming overheated, including whining, fidgeting, and excessive panting, increased agitation along with a bright red tongue or gums, weakness, dizziness, vomiting and sometimes even diarrhea.  If your dog has heatstroke, you need to act quickly and cool him off (and then take him to your veterinarian immediately).   Run water over his or her body and place cooled towels on the pads of his feet.  Cooled towels over his body will help reduce his temperature as well.   And, of course there IS that old saying that says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” that being said, there are some things that you can do to prevent heatstroke during the hot summer months for your dog.

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Avoid exercise in the heat of the day.  If you take your dog on walk, make sure that it happens in the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler out.   Be sure to bring water along and if your dog starts slowing down or starts panting excessively during the walk, then it’s time to stop and give him some water and bring him home.  Better yet, try to keep your dog indoors during the hot summer months or at least minimize his time out in the heat in the middle of the day when hottest.  If you have to leave your dog outside, make sure he has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade, by either a large tree or umbrella.   Of course, the small plastic kids wading pools on the market, or a spot that has shaded shelter is a necessity if your dog must be left outside for any period of time longer than for just a potty break.

PLEASE Don’t Leave Fido In The Car

Likewise, if you like to take your dog with you to run errands, make sure that in the summer months you never EVER leave your dog in the car – not even for three minutes.  Leaving your dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you run into the store for something, can be fatal.   .  The internal inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days in the car due to the concentration of UV rays that penetrate the car’s windows.   A couple of years ago, on a hot 90 something degree day, my daughter and I went into a popular computer store to make a quick purchase.   When we came out, the car next to us contained a panicked and barking sheltie.   The outside air was hot, the inside air was even hotter and the car was locked.   I ran into the store to have them make an announcement with the make, model and license plate of the car.   No one stepped forward to claim ownership of the car or dog.   I had no choice but to call Animal Control of the town as time was running out for this poor pooch!   Animal control came immediately, along with a wonderful police officer just as the owner (a 40 something year old woman and her teen son) exited the store.   The dog at that point was clearly distressed and the woman was mad as heck at me!   The police officer took her off to the side to get her info and informed her that what she did was dangerous to her dog and she could be cited with a summons.   She admitted to the officer that she had only run into the store for a few minutes – he promptly informed her of the severe danger and temperature she had subjected her dog to and let her go with a warning, while the Animal Control Officer checked the dog, whom, once they cooled off and gave him some water, was fortunate to go home with his owner.   Hopefully, she was impressed upon enough, to NEVER EVER leave her poor pooch in a hot car again!

My Final Thoughts

If you can keep your dog out of the heat during the really hot times of the day, and keep him or her hydrated, then you should have no problem during hot summer months.  The best way to prevent heatstroke for your dog is to avoid situations by not putting your dog in a position where he can become overheated.

I would love to hear your comments, feedback stories and ideas.

Scoops is a pooper scooper, dog waste clean up and pet waste clean up service located in central New Jersey – Check us out at www.ScoopaPoop.com/contact-us

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