When we think of our pets, we know that they love to play and be outside, for the most part. Playing with your dog and providing him or her with proper exercise is vital to a dog’s health and happiness. But as we get into the summer months, did you know that your dog could be uncomfortable, or even in danger, if the heat or humidity gets to be too high outside? While the recent and obvious trend has been to raise awareness on pet owners leaving their dog(s) in their car, there should also be an air of awareness around the hot heat in the summer months and how they affect your canine companion.
For owners all over, but specifically in the South, but sure to monitor the humidity outside for your dog. As you know, dogs don’t sweat and instead take alternate methods to cool themselves. If the humidity is too high, your dog could be unable to cool down which would cause their body temperature to skyrocket very quickly. And as we all know, a dog won’t exactly always tell you what’s wrong, so taking your dogs temperature is totally standard in this situation. As a reference point, your dog’s body temperature should never exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
While you’ll still want to provide your dog with exercise and outdoor time during the summer months, and that’s ok, you may want to limit the exercise on exceptionally hot days to early morning and evening hours. Also keep an eye on how your dog is treating the pavement if you walk outside, you may not even know it but asphalt can burn your dogs paws, so walk in the grass when possible. Be sure to equip your surroundings and your dog with the tools to beat the heat. Making sure your dog stays cool both indoors and out is simple and sometimes fun! You can make DIY peanut butter popsicles for your dogs, provide him or her with a cooling wrap, or fill a small kiddie pool with cold water and keep it outside. Just be sure to monitor the water to make sure it is always cool. And, of course, always provide water for your dog. Hydration is key in staying cool and healthy during those hot days.
Lastly, to ensure you are ready for the summer with your dog, but cognizant of the signs of heat stroke. Some signs your dog might have heat stroke are heavy panting, an extremely heavy heartbeat, glazed eyes, dizziness or a lack of coordination, and vomiting. The older your dog, the more at risk he or she is for heat stroke, so keep that in mind as well. To cool your dog down and help combat heat stroke, move him or her indoors into a cool area, wrap them in a cool towel or apply ice packs to hot spots on their body. These hot spots can be located around the head, neck and chest of most dogs. Giving your dog small amounts of cool water or allowing them to lick an ice cube can also help. If these problems persist, take them to the vet immediately.
We all want to play with our dogs in the warm sunshine of the summer, that’s a given, but now that you know what to look out for you and your dog will be ready to get the most out of your summer in a safe and fun way.