How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Comfortable in Extreme Heat

Keep Your Dog  Safe in the Summer Heat
How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Comfortable in Extreme Heat
Control your dog's temperature & keep them happy!

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With a heatwave gripping much of the wrold, it's important to recognize signs of heat stroke in dogs and to have a plan to keep your dog coll and comfortable. Particularly when participating in outdoor activities like walking or running during these high temperatures, extra precautions need to be taken to ensure your pet’s safety.

Know who's at risk. Very old dogs, puppies, those with thick coats (think: Huskies) and brachycephalic breeds (those with "smushed" faces, like Pugs and French Bulldogs) are particularly vulnerable. And just because they're running around doesn't mean they're fine.

“If they are all riled up and having a good time, they may forget how hot it is, so it is important to always monitor them," says Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Anytime you are outdoors or doing something active during the summer, it is important for you and your pets to take plenty of breaks. Although you may be used to handling the heat and are aware when you need to stop and rest, your pet, especially if they have a thick coat, may not fare as well in the summer months.

"Keep in mind that if you're thirsty, your pet is most likely thirsty,” Stickney said. “Animals need plenty of access to fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in it to make it colder and more refreshing." Bringing along a water bottle and bowl for him to drink from is always a good idea.

Trying planning outdoor activities for when it is coolest -- early in the morning or later in the evenin. 

"Also keep in mind that pavement can get very hot in the summer," Stickney says. "If your dogs don’t have thick foot pads, they could develop burns on their feet. Letting them walk on the grass instead of the concrete can help keep their foot pads from blistering." Booties for dogs are a great idea if you are frequently in paved areas.

Any summertime activity that involves the water is good to partake in with your pet. Getting adequate exercise, while also being able to cool off in the water, is a perfect outdoor activity for Fido. However, keep in mind that they will still need to have clean drinking water available, as well as a shady place to rest once out of the water. Swimming for a long time can be draining on a dog not used to that type of physical exertion.

"If your pet does accidentally overdo it in the sun, there are signs you can watch out for," Stickney said. "Panting, unresponsiveness, red whites of their eyes, and bright reddish gums can mean that your dog is overheated and needs a break."

Keeping your dog in the A/C or pointing a fan at then during the highest temperatures of the day is ideal. Never leave them outside unattended.

If you notice that your dog is beginning to exhibit any of these symptoms, stop activity immediately and allow them to get a drink and cool off indoors or in the shade. You can also cool your dog off with a cool cloth, but do not use ice water as this can restrict blood vessels. 

Unresponiveness, confusion or vomiting is also a big warning sign. Seek veterinary attention. 

Overall, be smart and safe when going on outings with your pets during the warm summer months. Monitor your pets closely, and be prepared to step in at the first sign of heat stress. They may be enjoying your time together so much that they don’t realize how hot and tired they really are!

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