Yippee and yahoo too! Summer’s here … And, so, fun ensues for you and your pooch!
Did you know, though, that doggies can suffer from heat stroke—aka hyperthermia—and heat exhaustion during these muggy, sweaty months? Nope, it’s not only humans (who don’t even have all of that fur…well, maybe some of us come close, but that’s a topic for an entirely different blog.)
As of June 20th at 6:34 pm, we finally rang in summer. We hope that since then you began to make the necessary adjustments to protect yourself and your furry friends from some of the discomforts that can cramp the enjoyment (literally and figuratively) factor as things heat up.
Candy is dandy and so are our handy tips and suggestions for easing the detrimental effects, ditching the dangers and minimizing the risks that sizzling sun and pea soup humidity can present for your pup. There’s no time like the present to review some of those here:
Common Sense Makes Sense Even 80 degree weather can result in overheating your doggie. Add humidity, and all of that exercise your pooch is getting now that he can romp outdoors, and there is a formula for potential disaster. Your human brain can be a fine gauge to determine what might or might not be safe conditions for your cherished canine: Basically, if it’s too uncomfortable for you to sit—or walk, or run—outdoors for any extended period, then, please, do not allow your dog to do so either. Essentially, we are suggesting that you employ sound judgement.
When Exercise Isn’t Wise All tout the benefits of exercise for people and for pups. However, under the common sense umbrella, you should be cognizant of the weather and certainly make adjustments in terms of reducing the duration and intensity of your doggie’s physical activity based on how extreme those conditions are and are forecasted to become. As such, hot days call for exercise regimens being limited to early morning or evening times.
Water Water Everywhere H20, and plenty of it, is in order: Have water available for your doggie to hydrate often, if not always, during summer nights and days, for sure. Since your poochie does not sweat like a human, she might drool heavily when dehydrated. Her eyes will become bloodshot and if you lift her skin, it will not fall back into place as quickly as it normally would. In fact, you can help chill your pup out by fitting her with a vest or backpack with a bottle of water for dual purposes—surface cooling and H20 that she can drink as you spend time out in the sun.
Be Shady The sun can be hazardous on many levels: There’s the discomfort of sweltering temps and then the risk of scorching burns and even skin cancer. Note too that searing sidewalks and asphalt can burn your pup’s paws. FYI, dog booties or rubber paw pads can help in this regard. There is also a natural oil-based substance called Musher’s Secret with which you can coat your dog’s paw pads for protection. Otherwise, remain aware of areas where there is available shade for your pet whenever and wherever you venture outside. A dog house seems like it will provide shade, however, small and restrictive, if not well ventilated, it might worsen the situation.
To augment defense against the heat, set pup up in a shady location near a block of ice, a kiddie pool or sprinklers. You can place a wet towel on the ground for him to lie down on. And if you want to spritz your dog with water, aim also for stomach and paws, as opposed to just the top of his back.
Vehicle Vigilance Simply stated: Never, ever leave your dog—or any living creature—in a parked car, even with it running (the car, not your pet) and even if the AC is on. It’s surprising how many people don’t realize how quickly and extremely temperatures rise inside an automobile. An 80+ degree day can become upwards of 120 degrees inside a vehicle in less than an hour and that’s even with the windows slightly cracked. Injury to your pup’s health, from organ damage to death, is a distinct possibility.
Beware of Moisture in the Air Humidity doesn’t only present extra discomfort and bad hair days… Especially for animals, who pant to expunge moisture from their lungs to remove heat from their bodies, high humidity lessons the ability to cool off. If this happens, their body temps will spike to frightening levels. (That said: take your pooch’s temperature if you even begin to believe she’s too hot. A body temp of over 104 degrees is unacceptable for a dog, who is then at risk of heat stroke.)
In the Swim What a gratifying activity you can do with your dog! Swimming provides relief from the heat, exercise and even bonding time for you and your priceless pooch. After said swim, bring your pup into the shade, at least for a brief time.
If She Strokes Symptoms of doggie heat stroke include rapid heartbeat, glazed eyes, heavy panting, labored breathing, extreme thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, excessive salivation, vomiting, a dark red or purple tongue, seizures and eventually unconsciousness. Very young, old, overweight, out of shape dogs, or those with pre-existing heart or respiratory illness are at higher risk, as are certain breeds. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, immediately move her into the shade or air conditioned location. Run cool (not too cold or icy) water over here and/or apply ice packs or cold towels to her chest, head and neck. Allow her to drink small amounts of chilled water—a good idea is to trickle water from a teaspoon onto her tongue–or even lick ice cubes …. And then take her to a vet/ER ASAP.
Beddy Buy Summer nights are song-worthy but they can be uncomfortably hot sometimes. If your home isn’t well cooled, think about investing in an elevated pooch bed that allows for extra ventilation. Some pet beds have cooling coils or crannies in which you can place cold packs.
Cognizance and plain old common sense will go a long way in keeping your dear doggie safe and happy as the sun’s rays pour down and the humidity spikes. As always, watch (always keep an eye on your pooch,) listen, educate yourself and go go go for a sensational season for you and your summer lovin’ canine.