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Helpful Practices to Prevent Your Dog from Overheating in the Summer

As they have been granted the official title of man’s best friend, dogs deserve to be rewarded with the best care. If they provide unconditional love to us daily, we must ensure that our dogs are kept safe as temperatures rise. Many dogs accompany their owners in their cars everywhere they go, and some are mainly walking in the neighborhood and playing in the yard. Regardless of the type of activity you do with your dog or the breed your dog is, here are some helpful practices that will ensure your dog does not suffer the severe consequences that can come from excessive heat.

Always give your dog access to water.

  • Ample fresh water should always be accessible to your dog.
  • While walking, a bottle of water should be on hand to rehydrate your dog periodically. There are foldable, portable dog bowls and bottles with a built-in reservoir to make drinking easy.
  • A water source not meant for drinking, like a small pool for kids, can be placed outside with water-proof toys thrown inside so your dog can soak and cool down.

Remember that asphalt is not your dog’s best friend, but shade is.

  • Due to their biology, dogs absorb and expel heat through their paws.
  • Asphalt streets and parking lots can become unbearably hot under the sun and can burn your dog’s feet.
  • Dog booties can help protect your dog’s paw pads from burning. But since they also expel heat through their pads, wearing booties can actually drive up your dog’s body temperature.
  • Grass or dirt is a much easier surface for dogs to walk on. Yards and parks with a lot of shade are ideal.
  • If your dog has to spend time outside when you’re not at home, make sure he has plenty of fresh water and shade. A doghouse does NOT offer shade, although the sunlight doesn’t reach inside. The interior of a doghouse heats like an oven in the direct sun.

Regular grooming keeps the heat at bay.

  • Only consider giving your dog a trim if their coat is matted and heavy.
  • Fur should not be shaved completely because it provides protection from sunburn and insulates the body.

Walk your dog at the appropriate times.

  • Walk your dog before the sun comes up or after the sun sets due to cooler temperatures.

Cars on a hot day are a dog’s worst enemy.

  • Not only is it inhumane, but it is illegal in some areas to leave your dog in a car with searing temperatures – your dog will die
  • Do not use the excuse of leaving the windows rolled down. This does not cool the temperature of the car enough.

Watch for signs that your dog is overheating, such as:

  • Heavy breathing and panting from limited exercise.
  • Bright red or purple tongue and gums
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy or exercise intolerance
  • Collapsing.

Brachycephalic breeds – Bulldogs, Boxers, Mastiffs, Pugs, Frenchies – are particularly poorly designed to cope with even moderately high temperatures

  • Their artificially short snouts are very inefficient at expelling heat through panting
  • Even mild exercise during the heat of the day can be problematic

Hyperthermia (heat stroke) can be life-threatening

  • If you notice any of the signs of overheating above, cool your dog rapidly, not drastically.
    • Lie them on a wet towel. Draping a wet towel on top of your dog can actually trap the heat.
    • Wet paw pads with rubbing alcohol. As it evaporates, it cools the skin.
    • Wet them with a towel, then use a fan to move the air over their wet fur.
  • Take a rectal temperature. Normal canine temperature is between 98-102 degrees. Temperatures of 104 and above mean your pet is in serious trouble
  • Call your veterinarian immediately and transport your dog to the nearest emergency facility.

Dogs are some of the most important things in our lives. They bring us happiness when we need it most, and it is our job to take care of them and protect them from any harm. All the above practices can help ensure your dog does not overheat in summer weather.

Maintaining your dog’s overall health, summer and winter, will contribute to giving them the happy and healthy life they deserve. There are many vet clinics in Rio Rancho that can help you with this, including Coronado Pet Hospital. We offer a variety of pet care services, from annual exams, preventive services, dental care, or even puppy shots in Rio Rancho.

Contact Coronado Pet Hospital today for more information or to schedule a visit!

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