Dog Care in Summer Heat
Date: August 1st, 2016
The dog days of summer can introdue seasonal hazards for your four-legged friend. Beat the heat with these tips.
Know the Warning Signs
There are 2 major reasons pets get overheated - hyperthermia and their upper respiratory systems.
- Hyperthermia occurs when animals are trapped in an environment (like a car or the beach on a hot day) that overwhelms their ability to cool themselves.
- Pets with compromised upper airways, like bulldogs, or an acquired condition like paralysis of the larynx have more difficulty removing heat in their bodies through panting. These animals often find that, in attempting to cool themselves, they generate more heat through exertion and can fall victim to heat stroke. (Source)
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: excessive panting or labored breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling and mild weakness, according to the ASPCA. More severe symptoms can include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting and a body temperature of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not exercise your dog during the hottest hours of the afternoon, and give him plenty of opportunities to rest in air conditioned areas, run through a sprinkler, or cool off in a doggy pool.
Bottom line, as much as your pet may love riding in the car or spending time with you, if it's hot out and there's a chance they'll be uncomfortable the best thing to do is leave them alone. Panting takes more exertion than sweating and can bring your pet to respiratory distress faster than you think, according to PetMd. Avoid any potential issue by keeping them safe and cool at home.
.Dehydration is perhaps the most obvious issue that can arise when pets spend time in the summer heat. As a general rule, a dog needs at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.
A 10-pound dog needs a bit over a cup of clean water daily. Very active or lactating dogs may need more and puppies generally drink more than adult dogs.
Always bring extra water when you're traveling or exercising with your dog.
Swimming Lessons - When the weather heats up, a quick swim in the pool, lake, or ocean can be a refreshing reprieve for your dog. However, not all dogs are sufficient at the doggy paddle. Before you let your pooch go for a dip, you need to teach him the basics.
It is a good idea to have your dog wear a life vest when around water. The vest provides another layer of safety for you and your pet. The vest should be a snug fit - for the best fit, measure the circumference of dogs chest just behind the front legs at its deepest point.
Dogs should never be left unattended when swimming. Even if your dog does a mean impression of Michael Phelps, he can run into problems in a pool or large body of water. In a pool, exiting can be very difficult. Pool ladders and steps are intended for two-footed humans – not four pawed canines. In large bodies of water, a dog's curiosity will sometimes lead them too far out in the ocean. Always keep a watchful eye on your swimming dog. Never throw a novice dog into the water! This can be very traumatizing and can turn him off of swimming for life.
To begin, your dog needs to get his feet wet - literally. Take your dog to the shallow end of the pool or the edge of the lake and take a few steps in. Encourage your dog to follow you and praise him with treats and support.
As soon as you give him the treat, walk back out of the water to show him the way. Continue this process a couple of times until your dog is comfortable entering and exiting the water.
If your dog has a favorite toy, toss it a few feet into the water. Aim the tosses to land in shallow water. If he doesn't respond to the toy but does respond to treats, give him a treat when he enters, and then another treat after he swims a short distance.
Sunburn - yes, dogs can get sunburns too! Any dog that consistently spends time in the sun during the hottest parts of the day is at risk to unhealthy sun exposure. Listed below are other characteristics that put a dog at risk:
- Light or white colored hair
- Short or no hair
- Areas of no fur due to allergies, hot spots, or medical treatment
Signs of Sunburn
- Red skin
- Hair loss
Areas of the dog's body prone to sunburn
- Around mouth
- Tips of ears
Summer is the season for parasites and mosquitoes. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a parasitic infestation, and be sure to inform yourself of the different flea control products available for dogs. Being aware of parasite problems and the other common summer hazards above will allow you to act in the best interests of your dog this summer season.