We can always count on summer to bring the heat. But as the temperature rises during the hot summer months, it’s important to remember our furry family members can easily overheat. Our pups rely on us to keep them safe and comfortable, and understanding how to protect them from excessive heat is crucial. Here we’ll explore essential heat safety tips to ensure your canine companion stays cool, happy, and healthy throughout the summer.
- Ensure Water Is Always Available
H20 is the way to go in keeping your dog hydrated and regulating their body temperature. Always provide fresh, cool water in multiple locations within your home and outdoor spaces. When heading out for walks or adventures, carry a portable water bottle and a collapsible bowl to offer your dog regular drinks. If you’re spending extended periods outdoors, consider using a cooling vest or bandana that can be soaked in water to provide additional relief from the heat.
- Avoid Excessive Exercise
While exercise is vital for a dog’s overall wellbeing, it’s important to adjust their activity levels during hot weather. Engage in outdoor activities during cooler times of the day, such as early mornings or evenings. Pavement and sand can become scorching hot and cause burns to your pup’s sensitive paw pads. Test the ground’s temperature by placing the back of your hand on the surface for 10 seconds—if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
- Provide Ample Shade
Create shaded areas in your yard or patio where your dog can retreat from direct sunlight. While shade doesn’t change the air temperature, it can reduce the surface temperature. Utilize umbrellas, canopies, or trees to offer them protection. Keep in mind that the position of the sun changes throughout the day, so ensure there is always a shaded spot available for your dog’s comfort.
- Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car
The inside of a parked car can quickly become a death trap for dogs, even on moderately warm days. Within minutes, the temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous levels, causing heatstroke or even death. Even with the windows cracked, it is never safe to leave your dog unattended in a parked car. (It’s even illegal in some states!) If you must run errands, leave your furry friend at home in a cool, well-ventilated space.
- Recognize the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a severe condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Knowing the signs can save your dog’s life. Watch for excessive panting, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, drooling, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, or disorientation. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, move them to a cool area, apply a cool (not cold) wet towel to their body, and seek veterinary help immediately.
- Be Mindful of Breeds Prone to Heat Sensitivity
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heat-related issues due to their anatomy or coat. Brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs, pugs, and shih tzus are particularly vulnerable due to their shortened airways. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs may also struggle in hot weather. Take extra precautions with these breeds by providing them with cooling mats, using fans or air conditioning, and grooming them to remove excess fur.
A little extra care and attention can go a long way in keeping your furry friend cool, happy, and healthy all season long. If you’re looking for an easy way for your pup to beat the heat, find a Dogtopia near you and take advantage of our supervised, climate-controlled indoor playrooms.