How to Protect Your Dog from Summer Heat
Keep your dog safe this summer
Summer is often a much anticipated season for dog owners across the globe, eager to spend more time outdoors in company of their canine companions, however, often dog owners seem to forget that dogs are deprived from the capability of sweating, and therefore cool down, as efficiently as humans. This often results in dogs over heating easily and even becoming victims of a potentially dangerous medical emergency, known as ''heat stroke''.
There are several easy guidelines dog owners can follow in order to ensure their four legged friend is protected from excess heat. The first of course, is by acknowledging that dogs are much more easier to suffer from the effects of the heat and therefore must be protected, the second is by preventing dogs from getting over heated in the first place, and the third is learning how to recognize warning signs suggesting the dog may be nearing the first signs of heat stroke.
How to Protect Dogs from the Summer Heat
While all dogs are quite vulnerable in very hot summer days, there are breeds that are much more in danger because of their conformation. These are dogs with very heavy coats, black coats, or Brachycephalic breeds with very narrow nasal passages such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers and Pekingese. Also dogs suffering from heart or pulmonary conditions are predisposed to over heating, as well as dogs that suffer from seizures or fevers.
• Don't Keep Dogs Unattended In Vehicles
This basic rule is known by most dog owners, however, each summer a few stories of dogs dying after being left unattended vehicles in the summer still make it on the headlines. The general rule of thumb is to practice extreme caution and never leave the dog unattended even if for a few seconds.
• Don't Leave Dogs Out in the Heat
While humans may dislike staying out in the heat and can't wait to retreat in the air -conditioned homes, dogs have much more reason to stay indoors when heat waves strike. Dogs should never be left outdoors without water and shelter as a general rule, but when digits rise high, it is best to invite dogs inside to enjoy the cool air as well.
• Don't Leave Dogs on Hot Surfaces
Often dog owners do not realize the effect hot surfaces such as asphalt or concrete may have on a dog's paw pads. Serious burns may take place easily on a hot, sunny day. Walks on days like these on such surfaces are discouraged and early morning or late evening times are better.
• Watch out for Hot and Humid Days
Allowing a dog to run about and undergo strenuous exercise on very hot and humid days is counterproductive. The reason behind this is that when the temperature in the environment gets very close to the dog's internal temperature the dog's cooling system may no longer be efficient as it is supposed to be. This may ultimately lead to heat stroke.
• Use Sun Screen
While human formulations of sunscreen are not safe to use on dogs because of their zinc oxide content, there are some vet approved sunscreens now that can help protect dogs from harmful UVA rays. Dogs in particular that benefit from such sun screens are those with white muzzles and ears. Some breeds predisposed to sun burns are Shar Peis, white Pit Bulls, and Chinese Crested Hairless dogs.
• Recognize Heat Stroke Signs
Recognizing the early signs of heat stroke may hep prevent it from becoming life threatening. Owners should be watchful for heavy panting, difficulty ands noisy breathing, tacky saliva. Heat stroke typically takes place when the dog's rectal temperature measures over 104 degrees. A normal dog's temperature ranges between 99.5 to 102.5. It is always important that all dogs victims of heatstroke seek veterinary treatment because of the risk of complications.
As seen, there are many ways to keep your dog out of harm's way and safe this coming summer. Keeping fresh water always around and monitoring your dog for signs of suffering from the heat are great ways to ensure your canine companion stays cool and well hydrated during the dog days of summer.
Great products to keep your pooch cool this summer
For further reading
- How to Treat Heatstroke in Dogs
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