Hot Weather Survival and Your Dog

It’s that time again. The weather has turned nice and you and your dog are out and about. Here are a few tips to have that wonderful weather not turn into a visit to the vet ER.

It’s Too Hot Outside

While dogs love to ride in cars and we do want to take our pals with us wherever we go, we all should know by now not to leave a dog, or child, in a car. The lack of air circulation, even with cracked windows, causes the temperature inside to rise quickly. When the  outside temperature is 70 degrees F, a parked car has an inside temperature of 100 degrees F. When in doubt, leave your pup at home.

Avoiding Heat Stroke and Exhaustion

It is important to acclimate your dog to the warmer weather. Inside dogs  and overweight are most likely to suffer heat stroke. If you leave your dog outside to run and play, make sure he has a place to rest in the shade and has plenty of clean, cool water.

Dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their feet. So breeds with short noses (think bulldogs, pekinese and pugs) and senior dogs have a tough time panting enough to adequately cool themselves.

Signs of heat exhaustion include rapid breathing, weakness, excessive salivation, pale or dry gums, muscle tremors, disorientation and staggering. Be a great doggy parent and be aware of these signs. If you see the rapid breathing, excessive salivation or weakness, get your dog into the shade.  Offer her cool water to drink and cool her feet but do not put your dog into ice water. That could cause hypothermia. If you notice the more advanced signs such as disorientation, staggering, pale gums or tremors, take your beloved canine to the ER immediately.

There are a few additional tips to remember to help avert any vet ER trips.

Pavement…. Black pavement gets really hot during the summer months and can cause burns on the pads of your furry friend. The rule of thumb is if you can’t hold your hand on the pavement for several seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Sunburn….Dogs with light colored or white fur are susceptible to sunburn. Just like humans, take care and avoid mid day exposure to the sun when the UV and UVB rays are at their strongest point.

To shave or not to shave? Don’t do it. Dogs with long haired coats use their coats to keep them warm in the winter but it also cools them in the summer. Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? Their long hair insulates them from overheating. Be diligent and brush out the undercoat but leave the long top coat in tact.

Take care of yourself and your dog when the weather gets hot. Enjoy the summer and have fun and run!

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

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