It’s been crazy hot this summer–I know because I’m out walking dogs in 100+ degree heat! Therefore, it’s timely that I write a few tips about how to make sure your pets are safe during this heat wave we are experiencing.
Please, first off, do NOT leave your pets unattended in your car while you are doing errands. A car acts like a greenhouse, trapping heat. While it may be just upper 70s/lower 80s outside, the inside of a car can easily get to 100 or more, even at these lower temperatures. A study by the Animal Protection Institute showed ranges of temperatures in a variety of cars, and all of it points to how insanely hot it can be in your vehicle, even when you think it could be safe. Don’t take chances–leave your pet at home! If you happen to see a pet in a car, do not attempt to break into it. Instead, wait by the car and contact local authorities for proper assistance. You can work with management of the store where the car is parked to properly contact the right people.
Your pet still needs exercise in hotter weather but please pace them accordingly. Older dogs, overweight dogs, dogs with smaller and shorter snouts, and thicker-coated dogs are particularly susceptible to the warmer temperatures. Give them shade breaks, take fresh water on your walks and take your walks in the early morning or later evening hours once it is cooler. Keep an eye on their paws, as the asphalt can be extremely hot and possibly scorch them.
Pets can be sunburned so if you have a dog with lighter skin or a shorter coat, be mindful of this. They do make doggy sunscreens so it may be good to have some in case you need it.
And DON’T take your dog to summer fairs and events. The crowds and atmosphere are not fun for them like they are for you. Leave Rover home!
Be aware of the signs for overheating: glazed eyes, stress-heavy panting, unsteadiness or a staggering gait, a rapid pulse, a deep red or purple tongue, and vomiting. If you see any of these signs, take action to lower your dog’s body temperature by moving him to a shady area and applying cool–not cold–water to his body to help cool him off. Ice packs or cool towels can be applied to his neck, chest and head only to help. You can give him cool water and ice cubes to also help cool him off. If he is in an extreme condition, seek veterinary help immediately.
There are some products on the market designed to keep your dog cool, like the KoolCollar (which I know they sell at REI stores) and Ruffwear’s Swamp Cooler jacket. I have both of these to keep Jasper cool as needed, as he is a long-haired dog who easily overheats.
Keep safe and have fun this summer!
Owner, Delightful Doggies