Heat exhaustion is a common issue for dogs in the warmer months. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips for dog owners to help their canine companions stay cool in the summer heat:
Hydration is key
Make sure your dog always has access to plenty of fresh water in the hot weather. Bring a collapsible bowl that you can refill at water fountains, and freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a cooler or container on long outings. If there is not a water source around, be sure to bring water with you.
Beat the sun
Early in the morning and late at night are the cooler times to take your dog outside. You may want to adjust your schedule to exercise your dog during these cooler hours in order to avoid heat exhaustion. Walk your dog on the grass or dirt where it’s cooler. Asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of your dog’s paws.
Leave your dog at home
Never leave your dog in a vehicle. On a hot day, your car can quickly become a furnace. Even when it feels relatively cool out and the windows are left open, your car can heat up to well over the outside temperature very rapidly. You should also never tie a dog outside a store while you run errands. It can create stress and may cause your dog to overheat. If you can’t bring your dog inside the store, it’s best to leave her home where she is cool and safe.
Create your own chill zone
Air conditioning isn’t the only way to help your dog beat the heat. You can find a spot in the shade and set up a kiddie pool for her. You can also keep your dog cool by placing a wet towel on a concrete or tile floor in front of a fan or air conditioner.
Don’t trim or shave your dog
Many pet owners assume that shaving their dog in the heat will help cool her down. However, a dog’s coat helps regulate body temperature and protects from sunburn. Brushing your dog more often to help remove loose fur can prevent overheating, but shaving her is not necessary. Also, if you have a hairless breed, you should always use a pet-friendly sunscreen.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion
Excessive panting, disorientation and obvious paleness or graying of the gums are all signs of heat stroke in dogs. If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, act immediately by submerging her in cool water (not ice-cold water) or by placing ice packs on her neck. Once the dog has been stabilized, get her to a veterinarian right away.
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