Dogs don’t have the option of shedding their thick winter coats in the summer time. And as your dog naturally pants year round, you may not notice when they’re doing it as a sign of being overheated. During the summer months, the risk for heatstroke increases and it’s important to be aware of the warning signs.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- Body temperatures of 104-110 Fahrenheit
- Excessive panting
- Sticky or dry tongue and gums
- Dark or bright red tongue and gums
Heatstroke can be deadly in a very short amount of time. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, take immediate action. Make sure you move your dog out of direct sunlight and into shade, provide cool water (not ice water) for them to drink, and place wet cloths on their feet and around their head.
Even if your dog appears fine, their internal organs are also affected by an overall temperature elevation. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke you should follow the steps above to reduce their body temperature and contact your veterinarian immediately.
It’s important to be aware that some breeds of dog are more susceptible to heatstroke. Short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs or pugs, dogs with thick or heavy coats, and dogs with heart or respiratory problems are at a greater risk for heatstroke.
When you take your dog for walks or runs during the summer make sure you bring water for your pet (they get thirsty after exercising just like you!). If possible, try to avoid walking on pavement or tar; your dog’s paw pads may appear tough, but they’re also sensitive and can be burned by the hot ground. If your dog is walking on pavement, make sure there isn’t any redness or pain.
Some helpful tips to keep your dog safe and cool in the summer heat include:
- Being aware if your dog is in full sun all day; are they outside on a tether with no access to shade?
- If your dog is kept inside the house during the day, is there air conditioning to help keep them cool? Having access to a basement can be an alternative to provide them with a cool environment during the day.
- If your dog is left outside for long periods during the day (ie, while at work), do they have access to fresh water, shelter and shade? Consider having a kiddie pool nearby or a sprinkler with an automatic timer to help keep your dog cool and safe during the day.
- Is your dog’s water dish able to be knocked over and spilled? Consider an elevated or heavier water bowl to help reduce the chance of your dog spilling their water.
- Never leave your dog in a locked car, even if you think it will only be for a moment. This can turn dangerous for your dog very quickly!
Following these important tips will help keep your pet healthy and safe in the summer sun!
Do you have anymore tips to protect your dog during the summer?