Dogs and hot weather do not always go together. Sometimes, dogs just get really hot. Other times, dogs end up with heatstroke. Heatstroke is fairly common among dogs during hot weather. Unfortunately, if your dog gets heatstroke, it is always dangerous.
There are several things you can do to help prevent your dog from getting heatstroke.
- Brush, wash, and groom your dog regularly to regulate body temperature and remove shedding hair that would otherwise insulate your dog’s body
- Provide plenty of shade when your dog is outside
- Provide plenty of fresh water throughout the day, and keep the water bowl filled up
- Consider getting an attachment to your spigot that allows your dog to drink like a water fountain
- Consider providing portable cooling pads for dogs to lounge on or wear around his neck
- Freeze a bowl of water with toys or Nylabones in it to encourage your dog to lick / chew on the ice
Even though it’s hot out, dogs still need exercise. If you take your dog on walks, you can work your walking schedule around the sun. Mornings and evenings are cooler because the sun isn’t so strong. However, you still have to be careful with your dog’s paw pads, as the pavement is still really hot. If you can walk on shaded paths or grass, your dog’s feet will feel better.
Swimming is another great way to exercise your dog over the summer, while keeping him cool. You don’t have the think big like ponds or lakes – a simple baby pool or lawn sprinkler works just as well. Some community pools also have “end of the season” dog swims, where dogs are free to go swimming before the pool is emptied for the fall.
If your dog prefers staying inside more than the heat outside, there are still precautions to take to make sure he stays a comfortable temperature. Make sure your house has proper ventilation and that the air conditioner is working well. If you need to, you can set up fans pointing towards your dog’s favorite resting spot, too.
If you are unable to prevent heatstroke in your dog, here are some symptoms to watch for:
Early stages of heatstroke include the following symptoms:
- Heavy panting
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Bright red gums
- Bright red tongue
- Standing four-square or spreading out in an attempt to balance
Advanced stages of heatstroke include the following symptoms:
- White gums
- Labored breathing
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, here are some recommended emergency measures you should take:
- Confine your dog
- Hose your dog down with water
- Apply ice packs or a cool wet towel to your dog’s armpits, head, and groin area
- Allow your dog to lick water or ice
- Apply rubbing alcohol to your dog’s paws
- Offer your dog Pedialyte or a similar hydration medication to restore electrolytes
If your dog’s temperature has not stabilized between 100F and 102F in a short while, you need to get him to a vet.
Hopefully, these tips will help your dog have a cool summer!
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.