Happy Pet Safety Month! With summer just around the corner, it is important to understand that dogs do not handle heat the same way we do. Dogs do not have the ability to cool down like we do because humans are covered with sweat glands, however, dogs are confined to cool down only through their noses and the pads of their feet. Heatstroke can be fatal when it comes to pets and we must take extra precaution during these upcoming summer months. These tips will help to keep your pet safe:
Never leave your dog alone in a parked car on a warm day
On a warm day, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise quickly and dangerously. If it were 85 degrees outside, it would only take 10 minutes for the temperature inside your parked car to reach 102 degrees.
Exercise your dog during the cool hours of the day
The best times to take your pets outside during the summer are in the early morning or late evening because the temperature is a little cooler. Hot pavement or asphalt can easily burn their paws so be sure to keep them either on the grass or in shaded areas.
On an especially hot day, cooling harnesses and collars are a good idea in order to keep your pet as cool as possible during its walks.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Make sure they are protected from the sun
If you keep your dog outdoors, it is important that they have plenty of shade to protect them from the sun. However, it is still not advised to leave your pet outdoors for extended periods of time because even in the shade dogs can still overheat.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
It is important for your dog to drink lots of water throughout the day. A general guideline is that your dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.
You can also use water as a mechanism for them to cool off. Fill up a shallow, plastic kiddie pool with water and let them enjoy!
Look for signs of overheating
-Heavy panting or rapid breathing
-Elevated body temperature
-Increased pulse and heartbeat
-Vomiting, bloody diarrhea
-Bright or dark red tongue, gums
If you think your pet is experiencing heatstroke, quickly move them into a cool, air-conditioned area. In the case of seizures or unconsciousness, immediately take them to your vet or local emergency animal clinic.