Summer is on quick approach, and the days are getting warmer with each passing week.
The beautiful sunshine and perfect pool-day weather are certainly exciting aspects of this time of the year, but as we get deeper into summer, the weather inevitably begins to transition from enjoyable to uncomfortably hot.
Of course, the weather takes a toll on us humans and can even pose danger if we’re not taking proper care of ourselves -- especially with rising temperatures and humidity levels. But, how does the summer weather affect our dogs?
Well, unlike people, dogs don't sweat out excess body heat. While dogs do have sweat glands located in their paws, those glands don’t quite do the trick in regulating their body temperature... So what does Fido do? Instead, your dog starts panting. According to Dr. Barry Kellogg of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly."
Moral of the story? It’s really important for you to keep your dog cool this summer to avoid them overheating and other dangerous risks. Being in the sunshine state, we’re experts at best practices for keeping your dog safe and cool this summer.
Watch the clock and be mindful of the amount of time you’re spending outside. Remember, your dog’s body temperature will spike quicker than yours.
Walk on the grass when possible! Doing this will help keep your pup’s paws cool, which is essential. Dogs heat and cool from the bottom up. So, when you’re out on your midday walk, try to steer your dog clear of hot surfaces like cement and asphalt. You wouldn’t want their paws to burn!
Whether you’re spending some quality time together outside or want your pup to be a part of your pool day, make sure your dog has a shady spot to hang out. This could be on your porch, or in a cool spot under a tree.
We hope you’d never even think to do this, but please -- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG INSIDE OF YOUR CAR...or any other enclosed vehicle, for the matter. Consider this: on a day where the temperature is 85 degrees, it takes a mere 10 minutes until your car’s temperature climbs to approximately 102 degrees. You could imagine how quickly it continues to rise as time passes on…
Keep that water bowl full, fresh, cool, and readily available! Create an exercise schedule that pays mind to the season. Meaning, take your walks in the early mornings and later evenings when the sun starts going down. A 3:00 PM walk time can be a one-way ticket to the risk of overheating. Additionally, avoid strenuous exercise on the hot days. Get creative with some fun games to play indoors!
Be mindful of your dog’s breed. Some breeds are more at risk of overheating than others. For example, dogs that are brachycephalic (have a short head and snout), such as Bulldogs and Boxers, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-nosed dogs.
Most important of all, stay prepared by knowing the signs. If your dog has overheated, it’s important to act quickly.
How do I know if my dog is overheated?
Signs your dog might be overheating:
Heavy, continuous panting
Weakness and/or collapse
Bright or dark red tongue or gums
Elevated body temperature
Weakness, possibly collapsing
How can I cool my dog down?
Monitor their temperature to ensure it’s decreasing.
Cool their body down with a lukewarm/cool towel.
Move your dog indoors to the refreshing air conditioning, or put your pup in front of a fan.
Place their feet in a pool or bathtub of lukewarm water to cool them down.
Make sure they’ve got drinking water available.
Keep these best practices readily available for all of your outdoor activities with your dog this summer! Not only will they keep your dog cool, but it will ensure good health and safety all summer long.