How To Keep Your Pets Safe in HOT Weather

Story Submitted by Sandra Maroney

The summer months can be uncomfortable - even dangerous - for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity. Humans sweat to dispel heat. Dogs do not sweat. They eliminate heat by panting. Although their footpads have some sweat glands which help with heat dissipation, it is only minimally helpful. When panting isn’t enough, a dog’s body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly. Many dogs in New York have recently died from heatstroke. Here are some ways you can keep your Scottie safe.

Be Proactive!

Practice Basic Summer Safety
NEVER leave your pets in a parked car – NOT for one minute, even with the vehicle running and the air conditioner on.
KEEP paws off hot pavement- Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.

Limit Exercise and Walks on Hot Days
Take care when exercising your pet - Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise and walks to early morning or evening hours. Always carry water with you to keep your dog and yourself from dehydrating.

Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, over weight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs - like boxers, pugs, shihtzus and other dogs and cats with short muzzles - will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

Watch For Signs of Heat Stroke

Some signs of heatstroke are excessive panting and signs of discomfort, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhea, mental dullness or loss of consciousness, uncoordinated movement, and collapse. A dog overheating may be unable or unwilling to move around.

If your pet is suffering from heatstroke take immediate care
Remove your dog from the hot environment immediately. If the dog is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these steps:

  • Put your dog in the bathtub. (Do not submerge your dog’s head in the water. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia).
  • Or hose your dog down (make sure to let any hot water out of the hose first before hosing your dog down).
  • Or, run a cool shower over your pet, covering the whole body, especially the back of the head and neck.
  • If you cannot submerge your dog in water, place a towel on his back and continue to soak the towel and your dog in cold water.
  • Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

Take your dog directly to a veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal clinic.

Keep Your Canines Cool

  • Offer an ice pack or wet towel to lay on
  • Add ice cubes to the water dish
  • Offer access to a wading pool with shallow, cool water.
  • Offer access to cool shade
  • Bring a collapsible water dish on your walks.
  • Replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food.
  • Offer an ice pack or wet towel to lay on

Frozen Summer Treats for Dogs

Frozen treats may help prevent dehydration and keep your dog entertained at the same time.

  • Fill silicone ice cube trays or ice pop molds with a variety of fruits, yogurt, mashed dog food or peanut butter that you can combine in your blender with a little water.
  • Low sodium or salt free chicken, beef or vegetable broth frozen in ice cubes makes a great treat that's fun to chase across the floor. Put some of these tasty cubes in water or dry food to encourage your dog to drink more.
  • Mashed bananas mixed with a little bit of yogurt can become frozen banana snacks when spooned into an ice cube tray.

Always ask your veterinarian before trying a new treat recipe, and make sure treats make up no more than about 10 percent of your dog's daily food. - From Hills Pet